March 13, 2017 Meredtih Kessler

10 Signs You and Your Child are Ready for Organized Sports

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10. Your child understands the concepts of teamwork and taking turns

Playing organized sports means sharing the spotlight and giving everyone their turn. Trying to garner everyone’s time and attention won’t make your kids very likable or popular, and you will be called a ball hog. If your child has not developed the intellectual maturity to be a team player, you are probably better off having them wait out a season until they are physically and mentally a little older.

9. They can understand and follow directions.

The ability to hear and act upon information and guidance from multiple sources ranging from coaches, parents, and teammates is a real challenge for many kids. Many of us do not have the ability to hear and process information from multiple sources until we are between the ages of 6-7 at the earliest.

8. Have the capacity to focus on an activity for 2 hours.

Having the attention span to stay concentrated on the game for the duration is critical. With age brings the ability to maintain focus. Thus it’s better to wait until your kid matures before starting them into organized sports.

7. Capacity to control emotions is developed

As parents and young athletes, we must be able to control our emotions and behaviors. It’s disruptive to the entire team and coaching staff when either a player or a parent cannot control their emotions and actions when observing their child practicing, playing in a game or after a painful loss.

6. The greater value is placed on my kid’s enjoyment of the game or activity

Teaching children at a young age that their sports performance is more important than developing teamwork skills and making new friends with a common interest is detrimental in the long run. This is the opportunity for you and your child to develop live long skills and socialization along with love for the game. Organized sports are a great way to build confidence in your child. As they learn and develop new skills, they quickly learn that if they apply themselves many things are now possible.

5. You and your child can handle losing without losing it.

Winning is easy; losing can be distressing. If your kid has a tendency to get angry when they lose at sports or board games at home, they are probably not emotionally mature for defeat in public. Organized sports is an opportunity to teach kids that life is not about winning at all costs. As the late Wilma Rudolph quite eloquently stated: “Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose.” Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.

4. I allow my child to develop at their own pace; I don’t push my kid to satisfy my own expectations?

There is nothing worse than watching an overzealous parent from the sidelines berate their child for a missed play. Competitive, league-structured programs make sense after kids have developed the fundamental movement patterns and skills associated with any given sport through repetition and training. These skills and the emotional maturity to deal with winning and losing is quite seriously the difference between having a Derek Jeter or Chad Johnson on the field. Which would you like your child to emulate?

3. Your child has mastered basic skills such as running, throwing, balance and the ability to track objects and judge speeds before they begin organized sports.

Age alone is not a good gauge to base a child’s ability to handle a particular sport or organized sports. Motor skills develop at different rates among all kids. There is no set chronological age that will guarantee mastery of individual skills. On average most kids aren’t ready to participate in organized sports until they are four or five. Many experts recommend against team sports before age six, and that contact sports wait until middle school.

2. Your child shows an interest in sports.

There’s no reason to push kids into team sports if they have no desire to play or be involved. Forcing them can make them dislike all organized sports. If your children aren’t ready yet, let them run around outside and play with their friends; it will give them the exercise they need until they are willing to try a few organized sports they like.

1. Which question is more important to ask your child after a game: “Did you have fun?” Or “Did you win the game?”

How you answer this question alone is a great indicator if you and your child are ready for organized sports.

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