A High-Five Worth More Than A Pair Of Football Boots!

A High-Five Worth More Than A Pair Of Football Boots!




-        New research has found that celebrating kids’ successes – with a high-five or pat on the back – can motivate them more than buying expensive rewards, such as new boots or football kit

-        Research comes as Little Kickers releases film showing kids aged 18 months – 7 years-old re-enacting the UK’s favourite football celebrations 

-        Peter Crouch’s ‘Robot’, Alan Shearer’s ‘One Hand Salute’ and Stuart Pearce’s ‘Air Fist Pump’ make up the top 3 spots


New research commissioned by Little Kickers – the world’s biggest pre-school football academy – has shown that celebrating the successes of children through gestures such as a high-five or a pat on the back is proven to motivate them in other areas of their lives rather than by buying them expensive rewards.


91 per cent of UK parents polled with children aged 9 and under felt that celebrating successes (both on and off the pitch) with their kids has had a positive impact on their development in different areas of their life, including at school(1).


99 per cent of parents felt that celebrating successes and milestones in kids’ lives, such as receiving a gold star at school, first time riding a bike without stabilisers or even scoring a goal, enabled the child to feel the benefits of achievement no matter the size.


90 per cent of parents agreed that celebrating their children’s everyday successes, no matter how big or small, has played an important supportive role in their child’s development, including cognitive, social and behavioural.


71 per cent of parents also felt that their kids were more motivated by encouragement to be imaginative, rather than to be competitive, whilst playing with others their age – with 77 per cent saying watching their child celebrating a success, such as scoring a goal, was more enjoyable than the success itself.


To mark the news, Little Kickers has reproduced the UK’s top 10 favourite celebrations of all time, with the kids featuring as the stars. Legendary football commentator, John Motson, narrates the video, which you can watch here https://youtu.be/svB2mcQPbXA 

The UK’s favourite football celebration was Peter Crouch’s ‘Robot’, followed by Alan Shearer’s ‘One-Handed Salute’ and Stuart Pearce’s ‘Air Fist Pump’ in third place.(2)


Christine Stanschus, Little Kickers Founder, commented, “It’s important for parents to consistently encourage celebrating the successes of their children, in all aspects of life. It makes you feel more motivated and happy – and in the case of football, you only have to look at the smiles of players like Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane to see how happy they are to let their emotions go when they score a goal”


“At Little Kickers we place as much emphasis, if not more, on ensuring there’s an optimal balance of learning and development concepts for kids who play with us, whilst still enjoying high quality football skills development across our bespoke programmes.”


“As a passionate football fan for many years, I have always been a firm believer that football is more than just a game, and seeing the huge smiles on the faces of the Little Kickers when celebrating their little successes, really brings this belief to life,” said John Motson, legendary football commentator.


“Whether you’re a young player lacing up for the first time, or a seasoned pro like the stars who have inspired some of these top celebrations, the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and all of the wonderful benefits that can come from the beautiful game and to celebrate your successes!”


The UK’s top 10 football celebrations were:

1.      Peter Crouch – ‘Robot’ (15 per cent)

2.     Alan Shearer – One-Handed Salute (10 per cent)

3.     Stuart Pearce – ‘Air Fist Pump’ (9 per cent)

4.     Steven Gerrard – Camera Kiss (8 per cent)

5.     Roger Milla – Corner Flag Dance (8 per cent)

6.     Cristiano Ronaldo – The Leap and Spread (8 per cent)

7.     Robbie Keane – Cartwheel, Forward Roll into Gun Fingers (7 per cent)

8.     Jimmy Bullard – Teacher (7 per cent)

9.     Colombian National Team – Salsa (5 per cent)

10.   Paul Pogba – ‘Dab’ (5 per cent)

(Other – 18 per cent)


Academic research has also found a connection between the impact of success and the release of dopamine in the human brain, leading to happier and healthier people, which has the potential to be enhanced by the celebration of success itself. The study also found evidence to suggest that higher levels of dopamine can lead to increased levels of motivation and creativity in an individual.(3)


Little Kickers has a “fun first” approach to all of its programmes which combine expertise in both child development and football to create a unique learning environment for kids to develop and enjoy themselves in, proving that it’s more than just a game of football. 


The programmes developed deliver high quality football skills, combined with important pre-school learning concepts such as colour and number recognition, sharing, following instructions and using imagination.


Notes to editors

For more information, please contact the Little Kickers press office at littlekickers@mischiefpr.com


(1)     Research carried out by independent survey company FlyResearch, who polled 1,003 parents of young children aged 9 years old and under 9th and 10th January 2018


(2)   Research carried out by independent survey company FlyResearch, who polled 1,001 British football fans aged 18 - 77 years old between 24th and 27th November 2017


(3)   Cited Di Domenico SI, Ryan RM. The Emerging Neuroscience of Intrinsic Motivation: A New Frontier in Self-Determination Research. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2017;11:145. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00145.




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