When Is the Right Time & Age to Begin Athletics?


Athletics play an important role in the development of children, both physically and emotionally. However, parents often wonder when the right time is to start their child in athletics. While there is no one answer that fits all children, there are some general guidelines that can help parents make the decision about when to start their child in athletics. Withdrawing your child from sports too early or waiting too long to enroll them can negatively affect their future athletic success. Find out what factors you should consider when making the decision about when to start your child in athletics.

The benefits of starting early

Participating in athletics can provide an array of benefits to those at any age. From building self-esteem and confidence to learning cooperation and teamwork, physical activity can help students adapt to life's challenges. The sooner a person begins engaging in physical activities, the better for them. Starting early gives young athletes the chance to develop basic motor skills that support more extreme sports later on in life. Physical activity also lowers stress levels, improves brain function and enhances academic performance. Participating in athletics as children also helps strengthen their social skills, discipline, and time-management since these activities require dedication and commitment.

The added bonus is that it supports overall wellbeing and encourages healthy lifestyle habits that last into adulthood. Athletics can inspire both young boys and girls to strive for excellence through guidance from experienced coaches who teach them basic fundamentals of team play; such as improving communication skills, developing integrity, respect amongst peers etc. It also provides youth with an opportunity to discover their own talent while possibly honored with awards or recognition of their accomplishments among peers at tournaments & teams offered by non-profit organizations making it more than just a fun activity!

The benefits of waiting until later

For many, the question of when is the right age to begin athletics has far-reaching consequences for physical and mental development. Unfortunately, much of society tends to jumpstart this process as early as possible with an emphasis on faster performance and higher success. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until age 6 before introducing team sports, saying that few kids understand the idea of teamwork until then. Instead, preschoolers should spend most of their time in free play — running, jumping, chasing.

However, there are numerous benefits to waiting until later in life to take part in organized sports, such as allowing time for physical maturation, decreasing risk of burn-out or fatigue associated with early specialization and allowing opportunity for different experiences that may shape who a person ultimately chooses to be. In addition, those who wait have often been shown to experience greater confidence, interest and overall enjoyment from their athletic endeavors than those beginning too young.

Furthermore, advanced skill learning isn’t necessarily determined by a person’s starting age in athletics, but rather by the intensity which they apply themselves as well as how genuine their interest is in the activity itself. Therefore it’s important not to rush into anything without considering all options and potential outcomes thoughtfully. Allowing our youth more time to explore different activities at various ages can lead to finding a lifelong passion that brings lasting pleasure, joy and fulfillment throughout life.

How to know if your child is ready to start athletics

Starting athletics at a young age can be an extremely rewarding and beneficial experience for both the child and their family. It introduces structure, builds confidence, and paves a path to physical and mental health. However, knowing when the right time and age to begin athletics varies from child to child, so it's important to assess whether your child is ready before jumping into any sport. Evaluate their physical stature; ensure they have developed coordination appropriate for basic activities like kicking and throwing. Additionally, assess their emotional maturity; starting sports requires dedication and commitment, as well as the willingness to learn from mistakes in order to succeed.

Also take into consideration their interest in athletics— if they are eager to start and maintain a healthy attitude towards potentially challenging practices or events, then you can be confident they are up for the task. Most importantly, create an environment that honors individual accomplishments while promoting healthy competition with respect for one another: make sure your child knows winning isn’t everything! Through patience, support, and genuine enthusiasm, you can ensure your child learns more than just basic skills but crucial life lessons when engaging in athletics at this stage of their life. To learn more if your child could be ready to play sports, click here.

Tips for getting started in athletics at any age

There’s no time like the present to try and get into athletics, whether you’re looking to start running a mile or competing in a marathon. The benefits of athletics are clear, offering lifelong physical and mental health advantages. For kids of any age, participation in athletics promotes self-confidence, problem solving skills and improving overall health. It also offers kids an enjoyable way to spend their time, getting them away from screens, making friends and exploring the outdoors. With that said, the journey of getting into sports can be intimidating - from figuring out which team is best suited for your needs to dealing with financial costs - so it’s important to plan ahead as much as possible.

Remember that whichever sport you choose, it should always be fun before anything else; cheering yourself on during practice or celebrating wins will only add to the process of development and success. Regardless of age or skill level, there are plenty of opportunities available; research leagues and clubs in your local area that offer youth programs suited for kids at all levels. Lastly, expect failure because it's inevitable in any athletic endeavor; learning how to overcome failure while maintaining positive attitudes are just some of the lessons taught through continued hard work in a sport. Keep motivated by setting goals and you will be sure to accomplish even more than you imagined! If you like to learn more about getting your kids interested in sports, check out Nook Sports.


Deciding when to start your child in athletics is a personal decision. Some benefits of starting early are that your child will have more time to develop their skills and they may be less likely to burn out. On the other hand, some benefits of waiting until later are that your child may be more mature and therefore able to handle the commitment required for athletics. The most important thing is that you know your child and what they are capable of. If you think they are ready to start, there are some tips in the blog post to get you started. However, if you want to wait or need more information, YFN Academy can help. We offer expert advice on health and fitness for kids of all ages. Visit our website today to learn more!


Lench, Brooke D. “When Is Your Child Ready to Play? A Guide for Parents.” Momsteam, 13 June 2018, https://www.momsteam.com/successful-parenting/selecting-a-sport/when-is-your-child-ready-to-play.

Meredith, Janis. “Your Kids Don’t Need to Start Sports Early to Have a Chance at Success Later On.” USA Football, 19 Oct. 2016, https://blogs.usafootball.com/blog/525/your-kids-don-t-need-to-start-sports-early-to-have-a-chance-at-success-later-on.

Spooky Nook Sports. “How to Get Kids Interested in Sports.” Spooky Nook Sports Athletics, 8 Oct 2020, https://www.spookynooksports.com/blog/manheim/how-to-get-kids-interested-in-sports.