How Soccer Can Enhance Emotional Intelligence by Caroline Stanton

What is emotional intelligence and why is it important?  Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own and other’s emotions.  More specifically, Harvard Business Review defined emotional intelligence as comprised of four core competencies that include: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.  Having a high level of emotional intelligence can range from navigating conflict to building lasting relationships.  According to Brian Tracy, Forbes CommunityVoice writer, emotional intelligence is critical to successful leadership because it aids in managing team relationships and problem-solving.  This critical life skill can be enhanced even at a young age by playing sports like soccer.

In sports, emotional intelligence means the player has the ability to control their emotions to help them play at peak performance.  If a player has a high level of emotional intelligence, then they are more likely to be consistent during a game or practice.  Soccer helps to build emotional intelligence through strengthening its core competencies.  For example, DC Way coaches help to build the player’s self-awareness through constructional feedback during practice.  Players also must have strong self-management skills to remain calm and play consistently during a high-pressure game that could cause frustration or nervousness.  Furthermore, to be a strong team, players constantly work on developing their relationship management skills.  DC Way builds relationship management skills through team strengthening exercises like Twins. 

In the soccer game Twins, two players tie their inside legs together with a piece of cloth.  The two-player groups break into two teams.  Players stayed linked throughout the game and must pass, shoot, and so forth with their outside leg.  Throughout the game, players will switch sides with their partner on the coach’s command.  The goal of the game is to hit the cones on the goal line with a soccer ball to score a point.  It is important to build emotional intelligence because strong soccer players that are equipped with a high level of emotional intelligence can cope with the range of emotions that come with the challenges of soccer.

Soccer gives the opportunity to build emotional intelligence at any age.  By playing soccer, an individual has a stronger tool set for leadership, team projects, and many other aspects of life.  At DC Way, we focus on building emotional intelligence by providing strategies such as imagery rehearsal and step-by-step coaching.  DC Way welcomes you to start building your child’s emotional intelligence today by joining us at our upcoming One Day Camp!