Originally appeared on http://philipwardseattle.org/lessons-preschools-can-learn-from-playing-soccer/
A soccer field is a place that can teach many valuable skills, ones that inevitably will roll over to every other aspect of life. Having kids play soccer, as early as preschool, can instill some really positive traits early and teach them invaluable lessons.
How to Work Together
Soccer is an undoubtedly a team-oriented sport, one which not only cannot succeed without teamwork but is also not fun at all without cooperation. By learning to work toward a common goal on the field, kids are also learning invaluable skills in how to interact with others in a positive way that will build a foundation for future interactions and endeavors.
How to Work Hard
Preschoolers will be put in an environment where practice and commitment to the sport pay off. They will be able to see the direct benefits of their practice, especially at this level where they are learning the very foundations of many skills, and see how that benefits them when they are on the field. This is an attitude that will undoubtedly relate to their future, whether it be in school, sport, or other aspects of life. They will learn the muscle memory that hard work and dedication leads to success, and slacking and laziness feeds failure.
How to Take Criticism
By playing soccer at an early age kids will learn how to take constructive criticism, and apply that to what they are doing in order to improve. This is a crucial skill to have in just about every aspect of life. Feedback doesn’t need to and will not always be positive, but learning how to take the constructive aspects of coaches and apply it will be imperative to improvement.
How to Handle Failure
Losing at some point is inevitable. It is not about the loss, but instead about how the child handles and grows from the loss. Soccer will give your child an opportunity to learn how to handle loss with grace and turn it into positive growth. For instance, instead of taking it as an end all be all, your child will have an opportunity to learn that it is a good way to look back on their strategy and technique and find ways to do better. They will learn that failure is a natural part of life, one that fuels and feeds positive growth and pushes them to work harder. It will build skills on the field in addition to character and mentality off the field.