Home > Getting Started > Children and Sport - When to Begin

Children and Sport - When to Begin

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 16 Jun 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
Children And Sport - When To Begin

Over recent times medical studies have proved conclusively that, as a nation, our children need to do much more to improve their physical health and participating in sports is one of the best ways a child can improve their levels of physical fitness.

A child needs to be stimulated physically as well as mentally and, as a parent, you can incorporate throwing, hitting or kicking a ball as well as running and jumping from quite an early age and your child will often be motivated enough to want to move on from that and to participate in team sports. The question most parents often ask, however, is “when is the right age for my child to play organised sports?” Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this.

Each sport and each child are different. Kids develop emotionally and physically in very different ways and at different times and a ‘talent’ for the fundamental skills required by a given sport are not necessarily enough for a child to be ‘ready’ for competing in organised team events.

Questions to Ask Yourself

In determining whether or not your child is ready to compete in organised sport, you should ask yourself if he/she is mature enough to understand the rules and to abide by them and whether he/she understands the concept of a ‘team’ rather than individual goals (if it is a team sport). Also ask yourself, how they would handle coaching and discipline from someone other than yourself and how they’d react if other children were better at the sport then themselves. On top of all that, could you be sure your child would be able to face the demands of combining school and home work with regular training and practice sessions? If you feel that your child is most likely to fulfil all of these criteria, then organised team sports can be a lot of fun for children.

Benefits of Organised Sports for Kids

Organised sports offer children the opportunity to compete in a safe and healthy environment. With adult supervision and a set of guidelines and rules, there is also less chance of injury or accidents occurring. Sport also teaches children many transferable ‘life skills’ such as sportsmanship, fairness, grace, overcoming adversity, perseverance and a desire to succeed etc. so it can be very useful in their maturity.

Disadvantages

As well as being beneficial, there are also a few drawbacks to children participating in organised sports. For example, they might devote so much time to one particular sport that they never get the chance to experience other sports which they might enjoy even more.

Sometimes parents themseleve can cause problems. Whilst many parents promote sportsmanship, some are often guilty of ‘over exuberance’ and as spectators display some of the most outrageous, unsportsmanlike behaviour. Which of course does not set a good example to the children. Parents can also be extremely ‘pushy’ too and can become unaware of the effects of the demands that they place on their child to be ‘the best’ at their given sport.

Forcing a child to participate against their will is destined to result in failure, resentment and is more likely to have the opposite effect to what you hoped for in that your child will quit the sport entirely. It’s also useful to remember that just because one child takes the step to organised sports before your own, this does not mean that your child will be any worse off when they come to give it a go as starting younger does not necessarily mean that a child will acquire skills any faster and progress more quickly. Quite often, a love of and a ‘natural’ ability for a sport aids progress far quicker than any coaching will achieve.

There is also often a tendency to group children and sport by age and, as we’re only too aware, age can have little bearing on the physical strength of a child so it’s possible that in a sport where physical strength is extremely important, your child might not match up to others in the same age bracket and might be put off competing and give up the sport as they feel physically out of their depth.

Things to Remember

It’s important to consider both the physiological and psychological demands of a particular sport and to weigh up whether or not you feel your child will be able to cope with both aspects before you consider letting them participate in organised sports.

What is certain, however, is that sport of one kind or another is something which the majority of children naturally tend to enjoy and nurturing that in the most appropriate way will not only enable your child to learn new skills but will also help to keep them fit, active, healthy and happy, no matter what their level of sporting ability is.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Mary
    Re: Using The Gym Safely: Equipment
    I am looking for signage to put up on the use of gym equipment for the gym we have built as part of our property…
    22 August 2019
  • Jems Born
    Re: Benefits of Joining an Athletics Club
    Sir.. I Want to joined atheletic in runing.. How can i joined this course..
    24 July 2019
  • Young Poor
    Re: Paragliding Safety
    I keep asking advice for over half Century; people in my age group, smart and polite have obviously died out. Undisturbed, they watch pilots…
    24 October 2018
  • Pat
    Re: What Are the Rules on Children and Gym Equipment?
    we are in a bit of a quandary...we are a charity, voluntarily run community based sports facility. we…
    14 October 2018
  • Damzy
    Re: Gym Induction: What to Expect
    Thanks the well-articulated article on gym induction. I find it very refreshing in offering inductions to clients.
    26 September 2018
  • Pinky
    Re: Bungee Jumping Safety
    I think that the bungee jumping is a very good extreme sports which I have also experience of doing bungee jumping. THIS IS ONLY MY COMMENT
    18 April 2018
  • snipa
    Re: Technical Ability in Football
    good information for semi professional footballers.
    28 December 2017
  • Crashed
    Re: Go Karting Safety
    In a public karting venue is there a regulation for seatbelts/ harness to be worn ? Or just helmet /suit/ gloves
    26 December 2017
  • Kaz
    Re: Darts Safety
    Is it safe for students of 14 to 16 years old to play darts in a pupil referral unit. Is there any health and safety rules
    20 November 2017
  • zozo
    Re: Training For Competitive Sports
    This articale can really help people with losing weight.
    27 October 2017