When is an 8-year old ready for serious team sports?

Physical Therapy in Fresno for Pediatric

Q: My son is 8 years old. He loves soccer and is pretty good. When is he ready to start serious team sports?

A: Organized team sports are becoming increasingly popular on the youth sports scene. Kids are starting at earlier ages in heavy practice and competition. Some kids will even be playing on several teams of different sports at the same time. One of the determining factors on how children will do in team sports is their neuromotor development. Typically, at 6 to 7 years old, children start to have the ability to track moving objects and judge velocity, which are vital skills for sports. By 7 and 8 years old, the athlete develops better posture and balance, which allows them to do more complicated skills, like throwing and kicking. Often, it isn’t until 10 to 12 years old before the child has the attention span and memory strategies to learn sports and work as a team player. Like all child development, the process is individualized, and some children progress faster and some slower than others. It’s important to observe how they’re doing while playing outside and during organized sports to get an idea of where they are in their development. We always hope that children succeed, but don’t put too much pressure on them or over-schedule their events. We always want young athletes to have fun first and foremost.

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