You wouldn’t expect your child to work like a grown up, so why are we making her play like one? Your five year old doesn’t read novels, does he?
And yet for the last few decades when kids have hit the soccer pitch or the hockey rink, they’ve been put on an equal playing field — literally — to adults. But, to an 8-year old, 50 yards actually feels like a 100. So when kids play in an adult-sized space, they’re playing on a surface that’s at least twice as big as what they can handle.
Seeing is believing. Britain’s Sussex County Football Association put together this short but sweet video that shows just how much size does matter.
By playing on a smaller surface:
- All kids are more engaged in actual play.
- Smaller kids aren’t dominated by bigger, stronger kids who can run faster or kick the ball further.
- Kids get more chances to practice skills like passing and dribbling.
- Goalies can actually make saves.
In other words playing is MUCH more fun. Which means kids are more likely to stick with the sport and less likely to quit in boredom or discouragement. (And what a shame it would be if your kid — who actually loves playing — gives up just because of a misplaced fifty yards.)
Talk to your kids’ coach or sports’ league if you feel your fields could be downsized. And here’s a great resource with specific measurements for age-appropriate field sizes.
You’ve seen kids playing on a adult-sized field, now how about watching adults playing on surfaces that have been super-sized to make them feel like kids!
On the soccer field.
On the ice.