The main difference between professional and amateur sports is remuneration. Professionals are paid to play, and they spend more time training since that is their full-time job. Amateur leagues are played by people who spend better parts of their day in other roles and only come to play out of a passion for the game.
There are many benefits associated with playing amateur football leagues. These can be broadly classified into physical and mental health, social and economic benefits.
The social benefits of participating in football leagues cannot be overlooked. Enrolling in these leagues opens up opportunities for players to intermingle and connect on more levels than just football. These leagues are played by people of different professional backgrounds, thus providing a platform for a teacher, a doctor and a journalist to meet on the same level. This helps in creating strong professional networks.
Amateur leagues usually have a grand prize for the winners and runners up. These prizes are often in monetary form. Besides that, some amateur teams receive sponsorship from their local companies and well-wishers. Professional clubs also keep tabs with the amateur leagues. They scout for talent and entice individual players with big money contracts so they can join their teams.
Participating in these leagues is also informative. Workshops and seminars are organised for both players and managers. In these workshops, new football rules are passed on amongst other important information related to the game. There are also self-empowerment programmes taught to league participants.
The physical and mental health benefits are the most important. Playing amateur football leagues means that you will have to find a few hours a week for training sessions. Football training involves a lot of running. There is more running involved when actually playing the game. The good thing is, players are so preoccupied with the game that one can’t even notice doing around 10km in 90 minutes. This helps in cardiovascular training. Cardiovascular training helps improve heartbeat rates and blood flow in the body. This, in turn, reduces the risk of suffering from heart-related diseases.
Playing football helps in overall physical fitness and especially musculoskeletal adjustments. This involves aiding in the burning of excess fat, muscle mass gain and also in obtaining a great posture. All of these happen naturally. Every football activity requires high levels of energy and involves different muscles. The more you play, the more these muscles are exercised, and in return, they become stronger.
Playing football has been known to be a great stress reliever. It has an effect similar to that of meditation. A player is fully involved in the game at that moment, such that they don’t think about anything else. This level of relaxation goes a long way in improving a player’s mental health.