The coordination involved in kicking a ball is HUGE!
As a physical therapist, when I watch a child kicking a ball, I like to see reciprocal arm and leg movement (meaning if the right leg is kicking, the left arm swings forward), the ability to kick with good force, and the control to be able to guide the ball in a certain direction.
Learning to kick a ball is an important milestone for kids. It is a skill that forms the foundation for many sports, social, and recreational activities. Whether it’s soccer, football, or just a fun game in the neighborhood, the process of learning to kick a ball involves a combination of physical, cognitive, and social factors.
When kids first start kicking a ball, they might use their whole foot or even their hands to interact with the ball. Through trial and error, they gradually learn to make contact with the ball using their feet, developing a sense of control and precision. This process involves a lot of repetition, as they practice kicking from different angles, distances, and heights.
As children progress, they start to better understand the mechanics of kicking. They learn to align their body, and can focus on their balance, stance, and positioning of the supporting foot. They also begin to grasp the concept of generating power through their leg and transferring it to the ball. This requires them to coordinate their movements, timing their approach and striking the ball at the right moment.
Quick tip for kicking a ball
One of the best ways I have found to help kids improve their kicking skills is to utilize a large, very under-inflated therapy or exercise ball!
Because the ball is large, squishy, and has some good weight to it, it provides excellent proprioceptive input to the foot and leg that are kicking it! The result — increased awareness of that leg, a great balance challenge, and some awesome strengthening all at once!
Learn more about teaching kids how to kick a ball.
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