BIRTHDAY PARTIES - A CATALYST FOR SPORTS ENGAGEMENT
How a well structured and inclusive party experience can establish long term participation habits
For some children, a Birthday Party can be their very first experience of football. The birthday boy or girl might love football but their friends may not have experienced football or especially the type of football environment that Soccer Shooters creates.
We use our Birthday Parties as a catalyst for sport engagement. Birthday Parties are a fun and safe space to combine traditional party games that kids know and enjoy and we add in a football.
So often a main reason for a surge in players joining a local football team can be a really successful birthday party. The social part of football at a young age is very important and often 5/6 year old football could be focused on technical development, when with birthday parties you are free from the shackles of traditional training and technical development.
Kids love the fun party games games and may not even realise they are learning how to play football , this is often key as a child may not perceive themselves as a footballer (yet).
There are many transferable skills with simple fun party games when kids are moving around, so it's all part of the building blocks of sustained physical activity.
Birthday Parties are a great to time to bring being aware of each other and how you want others to feel. The great inclusion at Birthday Parties means those that children with very different levels of experience at football play together in harmony without the competitive element that may be there in a training session or game.
The experienced kids get to feel like leaders in the group and can use that experience to teach, this can be a boost in their confidence. The inexperienced players get to try new things that they may like and gain confidence from trying and succeeding at something relatively new to them.
We have been lucky to run many birthday parties where kids have loved the session and never played in an organised manner before, a year goes by and we are doing a party for the same kids and there is now a whole group of kids engaged in grassroots football. That is the power of birthday parties!
This article was written by Jake Brown. Jake is in charge of all Soccer Shooters Birthday Party activities and coordination