What Age Should Kids Start Sports?

Posted on: February 15th, 2013 by Chris No Comments

kidsplayingsoccerWhen my kids were born I told my husband that when they were ready I wanted to get them a set of kids golf clubs! I really wanted my kids (I still do) to learn how to golf at a young age. I was way too old when I started to golf. I know I would have been much better had I started earlier. But teaching my kids to golf at age 2 a good idea? My kids are now 5 and 3 and I think closer to learning but when is the right age?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics sports skills don’t start to take shape until they are a few years old. They go on to say “To be acquired successfully, sports skills involve a complex interaction between movement, sight, and thought. None of these by themselves are completely helpful without the others. Motor skills (movement) require the right visual processing to allow the correct movement response. These skills also require appropriate brain processing and thought patterns so the response will be meaningful and effective.”

Here are a few things to consider:

Is your child ready physically to start sports? Skills and coordination are needed to play most sports. It’s hard to ask a pre-schooler to do two things at once like running and throwing at the same time.

Is your child ready emotionally? Sports takes patience and a lot of attention. Does your child get frustrated easily? Does he or she have the attention span to stay with it? It’s not until kids get into elementary school that they understand what it means to take turns. And taking turns is important in playing sports. I asked my daughter if she wanted to play soccer and she said “No because I don’t want to have to share the ball”. I knew she wasn’t ready.

Does the league emphasize basic skills and having fun? This can be very important for kids at a young age. You wouldn’t want to start your child too soon, they get bored and frustrated, and then never want to play again!

So is sending your child off to play baseball at age 3 be the right time? Maybe not. But this is a question that only you or maybe your pediatrician can answer. All children are different so use your judgement and “gut” and you can’t go wrong.

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