In reality, the ages where kids should start playing sports is not definite or set in stone. According to KidsHealth, a kid should be emotionally and physically ready to play in team sports or organized play, which is around the age of 6 or 7 years old. A child earlier than this may have difficulty focusing their attention on a certain task. Younger children can also have a coordination level that does not match up with the skills that are needed for the particular sport.
Younger is Not the Better
Contrary to the popular belief that we should start them young, that is not necessarily true. If your child loves to kick a soccer ball around the playground, it does not mean that you rush to the nearest sports store and buy all the soccer equipment you can find. Your kid may not be ready for the sport yet. Although your child may play the sport with the required adeptness at their preschool age, a seven-year-old is more primed to understand the game and play well with others. At this age, the child can grasp the concepts of the game like passing the ball and listening to the coach. If you feel your child is ready for a team sport and they enjoy playing it in the backyard, then they might be ready for a "mommy/daddy and me" sports camp. This can give you a chance to gauge their interest level of different sports. At the younger age, they are learning how it feels to be on the soccer field, basketball court, etc. Also, at this age the coaches are getting them used to the game, teaching them fun games, and getting all that extra energy out!
The development level of kids varies greatly from age to age and is different for each child. Some children may be ready for recreational sports, but others are not. This goes back to the fact that children grow and mature at different levels, learn in different manners, and adjust at different paces. Your kid has to be physically, emotionally, and mentally ready before getting into sports. How do you know if your child is ready for a team sport? That is something that you and your family must answer. We played with our son in our backyard, teaching him some techniques, and just being outdoors. He also persistently asked to play. Yes in the beginning it was just because he wanted to be with friends, but then eventually he got to the point where he was asking to play a specific sport. If your child is getting frustrated on the field, doesn't seem to be enjoying himself, or paying attention to the game, then that might be a sign he is not ready. You child has to have the attention span needed and the social skills necessary to succeed. Otherwise he may become frustrated and could develop a dislike for that sport.
It is Not All Practice
Most pre-school aged children have no mastery of hand-eye coordination yet. Skills like throwing and catching the ball are not in their repertoire. Don’t let early introduction of your child to a particular sport spoil his potential. Wait till he is an appropriate age where he can benefit from it. I must admit, I think we did this to our son. We started him in t-ball at the age of 3 and let me tell you, he wasn't ready at the time. Yes he enjoyed himself, but he was more interested in the planes flying over than anything. It was a bit more frustrating for me, as a former ball player!
Excelling in Sport is not everything
If your kids are not yet ready for competitive play, introduce your child to a sport that emphasizes cooperation, basic skills, and more importantly fun. Teach your child that winning is not everything instead focus on developing your child’s skills.