As different kids develop at varying rates, it can be hard to know when your child is ready to go out for sports. When they start to approach the age where they can start signing up for sports, there are a few ways to tell when they are ready. Read on to know what to consider when deciding if your child is ready to play sports.
They Show Interest
One of the first signs that your child may be ready for sports is that they are starting to show interest. You do not want to throw your child into a sport when they are not interested in doing them yet. Even if you had your heart set on your child playing a specific sport, they are not going to have fun in a sport you chose for them versus one they wanted to do.
Developed for their Age
For your child to be able to perform the sport well enough to enjoy it, they should have developed the basic skills needed for the sport. Depending on the activity, these include running, jumping, catching, and throwing. They usually learn how to do these things between the ages of 3 and 5. Later in development, they learn how to do multiple of these skills at the same time. If your child is not at the stage where they can perform the sport successfully, there are ways to adapt to most sports to make it easier for them. You can get smaller equipment, have them play at easier positions, and have shorter length practices or games. Adapting the sport to their current skill level will make it more enjoyable for them and want them to continue playing the sport.
Talk to the Coach
The coach will have the best idea of if your child is ready to compete with the other children they are coaching. If he/she sees your child as not developed enough for it to be safe for them to play, they may tell you to wait to sign your child up. You can always sign them up for the next season or a younger team if there is one. This can be discouraging if your child is very interested in joining the sport now with their friends. Make sure to offer them an alternative, such as a less physical sport or a hobby.
Consult Their Doctor
Before your child participates in sports, you will need to bring them into their provider for a sports physical. Call your provider or check their website to ask how often they need to have sports physicals done. These can be done at one of their wellness check-ups and are usually performed pretty quickly. Their doctor will be able to give the green light of them joining sports or will suggest they wait or stick to low-intensity sports only. If for some reason you do not have a pediatrician for them in your area, you should look for one before they go out for sports. This way, you will also have someone to consult if they have injuries while participating. If you are looking for Flagstaff pediatric care, Mountain View Pediatrics offers sports physicals.
Once you have determined that your child has developed enough by consulting their coach and pediatrician and they are expressing interest, it is time to sign them up for sports. Remember, sports should be an enjoyable experience for them, especially at a young age. Remind them that they can always quit after the season or join another sport if they realize this one is not for them. If they join a sport and it seems that it may be too early, they can always try again next year. You and your child should not be discouraged if it is too early for them to join as all of their classmates are at different stages of development. Waiting until they are fully ready for sports will make it much more enjoyable for them and allow them to be as successful as possible at their sport.