What Sport Should My Kid Play?

The start of a new school year has a lot of kids and their parents thinking about sports. Namely, what sport a kid should play.

Countless studies have proven there are physical and social benefits of playing sports as a kid. The most apparent benefit is building healthy physical activity habits, but it also teaches teamwork, builds confidence and improves communication.

But the experience all depends on the sport. Answer the questions below to figure out which sport is the best fit for your kid.

What Are They Interested In?

Your child’s interest should be the top priority. Have a conversation with your kids about what sports they’d like to play. Let it guide you toward a few options that are available in your area. 

How Old Are They?

Age is another important factor. At very young ages there’s typically a limited selection of sports teams a child can join. Starting around age three you can introduce children to a wide variety of sports at home and make physical activity fun. Basic skills like catching and throwing can be practiced in preparation for joining a team around the age of 6 or 7.  

What Level of Competition Are They Okay With?

Being on a sports team doesn’t mean it has to be competitive. Soccer is a great example. There are club teams for young children that are more about having fun than who wins. On the opposite end of the spectrum, soccer also has world cups and is part of the Olympics.

Some kids can handle the stress of competition better than others. You may want to start with a non-competitive team so that your kid can focus on learning the sport before the added pressure of competing.

Solitary or Groups Sports?

Does your kid crave social interaction and prefer to work with others more than getting things done on their own? The answer will help you choose between group and solitary sports. Most sports are a collaborative group effort, but there are few sports and sporting events that include a single player.

Two examples are tennis and track. It can be played as a team, but athletes can still compete as individuals.

What Level of Risk Are You Comfortable With?

Kids can get hurt playing any sport, but some sports come with more risks than others. There are collision sports like football, contact sports like lacrosse and completely non-contact sports like gymnastics. Although athletes aren’t making contact in gymnastics, flying between uneven bars isn’t completely safe.

The sport needs to have a risk level that both you and your child are comfortable with. Trying to get kids to play a sport that’s riskier than they’d like will build more anxiety than confidence. You also don’t want to be stressed out and worrying yourself all season.

Of course, safety apparel and equipment is extremely important no matter what sport is chosen. Kids will also want to make sure they are performing safely and understand proper mechanics to avoid injuries.

Optimal Sports Performance works with athletes of all ages to enhance skills and physical fitness. Athletes that know perfect technique and are fit enough for the sport are that much closer to playing it safe. Check out our student-athlete training programs for more information.