Play Strong, Have Fun
Articles by Dr. Michael Oberschneider on how to get the most out of sports
With warmer weather arriving, this is the perfect time to play soccer. In addition to being fun, there are many other benefits to playing soccer for children and teens. Soccer is excellent aerobic exercise and it’s great for motor skills and hand eye coordination. Soccer also fosters children’s social skills, perseverance, and communication skills.
We know from the research that children and teens who participate in team sports do better in a variety of ways. Athletic children and teens display greater self-confidence and self-respect, possess significantly more leadership skills and graduate at higher rates. Some research has even shown that athletic teens end up earning more money later in life than their non-athletic peers.
As a child psychologist, I have seen first hand the many ways that these past two years have negatively impacted our children’s social, emotional, academic and physical/athletic development and functioning. And in my opinion, the social impact of COVID-19 is what concerns me most. Children can always catch up academically (i.e. their hard skills and content learning), but getting back to a solid social self isn’t going to be easy for some. Research in this area has already shown that, over the past two years, children have missed out on learning durable soft skills that make it necessary to succeed. And those delays or gaps are occurring for children of all ages with some studies showing that even babies born during COVID-19 have higher reported rates of social and motor delays.
So, how do you help your child actively cultivate the soft skills they need to do well again after a global pandemic? Extracurricular activities. By reintroducing your children to clubs, camps (at home or away), sports teams, enrichment programs, etc. this Spring and Summer, you will be providing them with experiences – very important ones – that will serve to get them back on track.
Soccer is the most played team sport in the world, and it’s unbelievably popular in Northern Virginia. In just over two years, and during a global pandemic, Niko Eckart, Revolution’s Technical and Travel Coach, impressively launched and developed the area’s fastest growing and premier soccer club for children and teens. While there are other fine clubs in our area, Revolution’s approach to develop strong player skills, alongside nurturing positive social and leadership qualities and skills, separates them from the pack. Being “Creative. Collaborative. Competitive. and Committed” isn’t just their motto, it’s something that Revolution players and parents experience at every practice and game. And whether your son or daughter wants to play soccer recreationally or competitively, there are plenty of opportunities for both at Revolution.
So, let’s join the Revolution where our children and teens can play some soccer, have some fun and improve on the important soft skills of life (i.e. communication skills, leadership skills and social skills).
Please check out my article next month, “How to Practice Soccer Mindfulness.”
Dr. Michael Oberschneider is a highly accredited clinical psychologist and the founder of Ashburn Psychological and Psychiatric Services. Dr. Oberschneider has spent the past 22 years working as a psychologist in a variety of capacities with children, adolescents, and adults. In particular, he enjoys supporting athletes (of all ages), and he has worked with several Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3 athletes, as well as professional athletes.
Dr. Oberschneider has received numerous awards as a clinical psychologist (e.g., the Washingtonian Magazine ‘Top Psychologist’ honor), and he has been featured on CNN Nightly News, Good Morning America, NPR, WTOP, as well as other popular media spots, as a mental health expert. Dr. Oberschneider has also written numerous articles for several newspapers, including the Washington Post. He currently writes a monthly advice column for the Blue Ridge Leader and Loudoun Today.
Dr. Oberschneider has two children with the VA Revolution Soccer Club, and we are thrilled to have him on as a sponsor and a contributing author for his column “Play Strong, Have Fun.”