Playing soccer at a young age holds long-term benefits for kids later in life
BMO Financial Group and youth sport expert Dr. Jean Cote of Queen’s University released recently a report entitled More Than a Game: The Power of Soccer for Youth Development.
Cote defines four positive outcomes that adults can influence to create a positive environment in youth sport: Competence, Confidence, Connection, and Character/Caring. He also explains the “four corners” for effective coaching and “four corners” for effective parental support.
“As the bank of soccer in Canada, BMO continuously seeks to encourage and grow the sport, especially at the grassroots level. This collaboration is an opportunity for us to work with one of the preeminent authorities on youth sports and coaching, Dr. Jean Cote. This report takes an in-depth look at youth involvement in The Beautiful Game and provides insight into the important role of those on the side of the soccer pitch,'” says BMO Financial Group Sponsorships Vice-President Sandy Bourne.
Countries such as Canada, France, Australia and the United Kingdom adopted Cote’s renowned model of development in youth sport as their framework of organization.
Cote suggests that the influence of adults, both parents and coaches, is the most important factor in enhancing youth experience in sport and can set the bar for not only athletic performance, but peer and leadership skills and social success later in life.
“In order to nurture abilities and a lifelong love of the sport, youth soccer programs need to develop athletes who are not only competent, but also confident in their skills, well-adjusted, socially proficient, and respectful of their sport, themselves, and others,” says Cote. “The process by which youth acquire the 4 C’s in soccer results from age-appropriate training activities which are underpinned by positive and supportive relationships with coaches and parents.”
The study found that soccer played in childhood can have a positive impact later in life. “For coaches and parents, taking up the challenge to make soccer a positive experience for all involved is an individual commitment that can influence young people’s lives forever,” concludes Cote.