The importance of ritual in kids football

Lots of people like routine. It takes the surprise out of things and we know what to expect and when. Children are no different. And the next step on from routine is ritual, those quirky little things we ‘need’ to do in order to be sure everything will turn out right. It might be as simple as the way you stack the dishwasher, to taking a special handbag to an interview, or a lucky necklace. For others it’s more in depth; having to close windows in a certain order when they leave the house, or getting dressed and putting shoes on in the right order.

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Rituals provide security

Sportsmen and women are particularly susceptible to ritual because they come to associate the pre-game routine with success, and if the sequence is not followed, whatever it is, then a win is not going to happen.

Children will also find ritual beneficial. It provides security and a sense that everything will be ok, and if there is a team routine prior, the sense of belonging grows. Rituals differ from rules because they are not forced and they might be very personal to the team or the individual.

It might be that they have a special shirt they always pull on to play. As coach, you can encourage that sort of ritual through introducing football team kits. Specialist retailers like Kit King have a great range to help you inspire your squad.

The Telegraph shares more detail on the importance of routine in a child’s life.

Matchday rituals

It will only take a few weeks of practice to make something a habit, so it’s easy to introduce some positive rituals to your club. It might be part of the warm-up, positive affirmations about who they are and the game they play, finishing with a cheer or high fives all round.

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Always be sure to leave on a positive note, even when the result wasn’t good. Something like making sure the coach says goodbye or well done to each player will leave a lasting impression.

With children and bonding a team together, don’t spend too long over-thinking it. Playing football is what they love, and playing with their friends, so make sure any rituals you introduce are fun and light-hearted. Don’t make them seem like rules!

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