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Life skills before football skills – By Luke Chadwick

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Football is without a doubt an incredible game, for many of us it encapsulates us at a young age and we develop a lifelong love for it, as a child I started playing the game for one reason and that was because I enjoyed it. There was no thought of becoming a professional player, it was just the fun I had chasing the ball around with my friends. It was chaotic and I loved it, even the thought of playing would excite me greatly.

When we play football as kids it has a massive influence on how we develop as human beings, many lessons we learn on the pitch are taken into everyday life, which is why it is so important for those in charge of young people playing the game to consider this every time we are leading sessions and games for them. The influence we have as coaches has a huge bearing on how children grow and develop, I certainly remember hanging off every word my coaches would say when I was growing up.

Children look up to coaches and the responsibility of the coach is the underlying factor on the experience children have playing football. That is without doubt a massive responsibility and one that can shape a young person’s values and character as they grow up. I was extremely lucky to have fantastic role models that I looked up to as coaches and when we have that we never forget them. Football is so much more than just a game and the early experiences we have in anything shape who we become.

The life skills we learn playing football are way more important than the football skills in my opinion and that’s what we put the emphasis on at the Football Fun Factory, we use the power of football as the vehicle of child development within our programmes in a fun inclusive environment. All too often the focus on purely technical and tactical outcomes lead to kids growing disengaged and not enjoying the game. Engagement is the key for enjoyment in any activity and when positive life skills are developed it can only be a good thing.

The social skills that are developed through football are huge, learning how to win and lose in a dignified way, meeting new people, fair play, the list is endless and when we focus on these things the positive outcomes are incredible. We all play football because we love it but when I look back to my early experiences playing the game a huge amount of them were human lessons which improved my values as a person. Football when delivered in the right way can change lives and that is what we endeavour to do at The FFF in our programmes across the United Kingdom delivered by our superstar Head Coaches.

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