Kids and Organized Sports: Don't Push Them Too Early

soccer balls

Soccer camps for 3-year olds? T-ball for 5-year-olds? A Washington Post opinion writer Fred Bowen nailed it when he says, "it seems as if almost every kid is playing on some team by the first grade."


It's true. I know that I certainly feel pressure (hubby, friends, school)  to get my boys (3 and 5)  in one kind of sport or another--soon. Of course, organized sports isn't necessarily a bad thing. But it seems parents, coaches and teams that push too hard, too young, might be.

From the article:

I know some folks say that kids have to sign up for organized teams at a young age or they will fall behind the other kids. I've even had parents tell me it's "too late" for their kids to start playing team sports because they are 10 years old.

That's silly. What secret skill does a kid learn playing a sport when he is 5 to 9 years old that a 10-year-old can't learn very quickly? If the 10-year-old is a decent athlete who wants to learn and play the game, she will catch up quickly.

So the best age for kids to start playing sports is when they really want to play. That may be 6 or 12 or any time in between. But remember, sports are not just the games with uniforms and referees. Pickup basketball games, playing catch with a friend or soccer matches where the goals are shirts on the ground are sports, too.

And remember you can always enjoy playing sports even if you are not a world champion at 6 years old.

Words spoken like a champ.

Are your kids in organized sports? How young did they start?


Image via mrsflinger/Flickr

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