Football requires coordination in order to play the game and is a great way to develop someone’s coordination especially at a young age. Football also requires the use of both fine and gross motor skills in order to play the game successfully.
An individual undertaking football will learn both hand-eye coordination and foot-eye coordination. You are not allowed to use your hands in football apart from one position, goalkeeper. In Australia there are no goalkeepers until players reach the under 8 age group. Once they reach this age teams can place a goalkeeper in the goals. It is my belief that players should all be given a chance to play goalkeeper through the ages of 8 – 12 or at least until they play on a full size field. Learning to play goalkeeper means that you have to use your hands to stop the ball by either parrying it or catching it. At the younger age’s players are also encouraged to roll or throw the ball out when distributing. The repetition of this as well as throw ins develops an individual’s ability to properly control a ball when receiving it and when releasing it.
Outfield players also need hand eye coordination, although for a very different reason. The use of a hand by an outfield player results in a free kick or penalty to the opposing team. It is therefore essential to be able to keep your hands away as much as humanly possible especially when controlling the ball and blocking a shot.
Foot to eye coordination is the predominant type of coordination used in football. The ability to know where your foot is in relation to what your eyes see in order to execute something with the ball. For example a shot at goal. Foot eye coordination is hard to learn, the feet are less dexterous than the hands and the legs are a lot stronger than the arms making it a difficult ability to learn. Just look at any person regardless of their age starting out at in football.
However, over time and with the right coaching players can learn to do incredibly complex physical movements with their feet. Just look at the most ridiculous moves pulled off by football freestylers. Although these are not overly practical in the game of football they demonstrate a high amount of fine motor skills and foot-eye coordination in order to pull off.
In game foot -eye coordination culminates in the amazing and dazzling over head kicks and scissor kicks we see players execute. The ability to judge the flight of the ball and coordinate what is almost a half backflip all whilst being able to kick the ball down and toward the goal shows how just how much football can develop an individuals coordination.
This has benefits outside of football as well. People who are more coordinated are less likely to hurt themselves when doing activities. Such as playing with the kids. Being more coordinated means there is less chance of you falling or tripping over, or even if you do be able to recover your balance and avoid injury. The same goes for kids, although everyone starts out a little clumsy, kids who are more coordinated are less likely to get hurt playing with their friends then someone who is more uncoordinated.