My daughter is only 7 years old, and she has done soccer once, and swimming once. That is two organized sports for her and I never started any until I was 9. I was athletic, but I only wanted to play one sport when I was little. My daughter wants to play everything (that’s her personality with everything), and she is quite athletic and a strong swimmer. My son is 4 and is also competitive and athletic, but he enjoys dancing and bowling the most. My wife wants me to get them both in to sports, which is good. But how early is to early for sports to be pushed into the lives of our kids?
I have been involved in sports since I was five, but I did not do any organized sports until I was 9 years old. For this reason, I am in no hurry to put my kids in a position to have a random adult attempt to impart their “wisdom” to my kids; not yet anyway. I believe in the eventual benefits of organized sports, but I also recognize the benefits of letting kids be young and listen to their imaginations for a few years before they listen to coaches.
I am going to approach this Round Table Topic differently. I want to avoid spending an hour of our #DadsRT Chat to circle around to the answer of “It takes balance to determine whether or not your child is ready for sports”. When it comes to kids and sports I have a stance and an opinion I will take, because I’ve lived it, and seen it played out in many students over the last 9 years I’ve spent in education.
I am not against organized sports, but I do believe that we have our kids competing at too early of an age. We place the results of the game over the learning of the key fundamentals that will keep our kids safe in the future. I am not against competition, but I am against parental pressures on their kids. Kids should not play games where score is kept until they understand that winning and losing doesn’t make you a better or a worse person. My daughter was 5 when she did soccer, and barely knew what was going on; why would they keep score? After finding out the results of a game she barely understood or participated in, she would have a change in demeanor based on the answer to the inevitable, “Did we win?”.
Kids need to enjoy the sports, and learn the fundamentals of sports before the score is kept. How is that even possible? I’ve taught Tennis camps for a couple years and actual games were only played by the older attendees. Little kids just want to have fun.
Join us Wednesday night for #DadsRT as we chat about introducing sports to our kids too early, how many sports in a year are enough, and how to try and keep your kids from burning out too early. We start at 6Pacific/9Eastern!