Parents often ask us what age their child should start playing sports. It’s an important question, one we are happy to help with. You know the phrase, “it’s never too late to try something new,” but as a parent, you may be worried that your child is too old to begin playing sports or learn a new one. Will they be uncomfortable as an older beginner? Are they too old to benefit from all that youth sports have to offer? Will they be angry at you for encouraging them to play?
On the other hand, you may have a young child interested in playing a sport, but you aren’t quite sure if they are “old enough.” “Can my child even understand the game?” “Will they lose interest quickly?” “Should I just wait until they are older?” These are all valid questions. Find the answers you’re looking for here, plus more information about our age-appropriate approach to youth sports instruction.
If your 1- to 2-year-old is obsessed with running, tumbling, and playing catch, you may wonder if it’s time to enroll them in a sports program. After all, you know that sports encourage mental and emotional development and allow for socialization and physical exercise.
However, most toddlers aren’t ready for organized sports. Many kids in this age group need extra guidance when it comes to taking turns and working as a team. They’re also still developing their motor skills and coordination. Plus, following multi-step instructions or complex rules might be beyond their capabilities.
So does this mean you should discourage your toddler from running, jumping, and throwing? Of course not! Team sports might not be the right fit yet, but give it a couple of years, and your athlete child will be more than ready to play team sports.
Preschool age is the youngest we recommend to start playing sports. Of course, at this age, unstructured free play is usually the best place to start. Then, instructors can move to more structured play with loosely enforced rules. The emphasis should always be on play and experimentation rather than competition and winning.
The types of sports 3-year-olds may enjoy playing include:
To get the most out of the experience, kids need certain skills before starting sports, regardless of their age. Otherwise, they may get frustrated and not want to play at all. Here are some guidelines to help you recognize when your child is ready for sports:
So, at what age should you enroll your child in a youth sports program? The answer may be different for every child, but rather than focusing on their age alone, the most important thing is to make sure they receive age-appropriate instruction. At i9 Sports®®, we offer youth sports programs for kids ages 3 to 14. We know a 3-year-old learns differently than a 9-year-old and that training can make all the difference in the experience your child has, regardless of the age they start playing.
If you are looking to enroll your 3- to 14-year-old in youth sports, it’s clearly not too early OR too late. What really matters is the instruction your child receives at any given age.
If this is the type of approach you’ve been looking for in a youth sports league, you’ll certainly find it at i9 Sports®. We have years of experience Helping Kids Succeed in Life through Sports®, and we’re ready to make a difference in you and your child’s life! Find a program near you and sign your child up today.
*Age ranges vary based on location and program.