What Age Should Kids Start Playing Sports?

When should your child start playing basketball? It’s a difficult question to answer and there’s many opinions out there. To determine whether your child should start playing, it’s a good idea to hear what professionals and other parents are thinking. It is also important to think about how playing can impact your child.

A Doctor’s View

If you’re really concerned about when your child should start playing, it’s probably a good idea to figure out what the professionals think. Medical professionals are generally in favor of children being active, but they warn that various sports require different levels of development. Your child is probably ready to run, swim, or play catch when he or she is very young. An organized sport like basketball though, isn’t going to come until later. A summer youth basketball league or a youth basketball camp might be fun at six, but you might want to wait for more in-depth basketball skills training or a real league until your child is after the age of ten.

Critics and Boosters

As with so many things related to parenting, you’re going to find a lot of arguments between supporters and opponents. There are some who want to start kids as early as possible, noting that they’ll get the chance to have once in a lifetime experiences when they’re young. On the other hand, there are people who think that starting kids young is just putting too much pressure on the child. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that can be said to dissuade either side – and both sides have solid evidence to support their views.

The Difference in Leagues

Of course, there’s also a huge difference in how kids play sports. Experts already talk about the insanity that can surround kids’ sports at the higher end, but that doesn’t apply everywhere. Putting your seven year old in summer youth basketball is fine – just don’t make him or her play in front of scouts. It’s just as important to know the expectations for your child, as it is to know what sport your child is going to play.

Knowing Your Child

One of the best pieces of advice is that you have to know your child. Some children are ready to play sports earlier than others. If your child shows that he or she has good hand-eye coordination and is ready to play in a group, give him or her a chance to play. If your child isn’t interested, don’t be forceful. No matter what anyone else says, you can only start a child on a sport once ready to play.

There’s no real agreement on when a child can start playing sports. Doctors think team sports should start after age six, but some children are ready earlier and others are ready later. If you’re not sure when your child should start, try out a skills camp – it will give you a better idea of where he or she is developmentally.