Article by former San Diego State University player Hunter Hewitt
Participating in football (like many other sports), provides many health benefits for children. It’s a physically demanding game that provides an opportunity for players to improve their speed, agility, strength, hand-eye coordination, and overall cardiovascular endurance.
The friendships amongst a team of football players is unlike any other sport due to the high volume of teammates. With dozens of players working towards one common goal, the bond many kids develop with each other is priceless and unmeasurable. This camaraderie is a lifelong benefit for children, as they will quickly appreciate the importance of developing close relationships with each other. This builds the concepts of trust and doing your part.
Football is a game of inches, and this margin of error requires a keen attention to detail from everyone on the field. One wrong step, one dropped pass or one mental error, can negatively affect any given play. Kids that play football learn the importance of being disciplined with everything that they do.
Some days, putting on 10 pounds of pads and a helmet and lacing up the cleats just does not seem like a very fun thing to do, especially in the heat. But practice makes perfect, and preparation is needed to be successful in football. The strong work ethic players develop is a vital asset they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Football is truly a team game. With 11 players on each side of the ball, everyone is counted on to play their individual role. There is a tremendous amount of accountability required from each player to do a specific job on every play. This team work helps children to become accustom to working with others, a skill that is required in almost every profession.
Like rugby and hockey, football is one of the most physical sports. The risk of injury may be greater than most other sports, and bumps and bruises are nearly inevitable. These bumps and bruises heal over time, however, and players learn how to fight through the pain and still give their best effort despite what limitations may be present. Doesn’t this sound like a metaphor for life?
In addition to physical toughness, it takes a strong mind to play the game of football. Whether its battling through a minor injury or overcoming adversity after a turnover or a mistake, children often develop mental toughness they may never have discovered otherwise.
Some kids may have already identified their favorite sport and may want to pursue it at a higher level in the future. For those children, playing football can become a great cross-training activity in the off season. Several skills developed on the football field, such as hand-eye coordination, a