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Question for people who have kids in sports

Tinalynn45's picture

What age do Extra curriculum Activities(sports) like soccer or other field sports start getting Hard or competitive? I’m NOT talking about “travel teams” but just your basic recreational program or school based program? Even with Rec programs there must be a age that it gets hard to play unless you have been doing it for years or really good. 

I’m asking because SS has shown interest in joining “something” Soccer,Field hockey, lacrosse. He’s been going back and forth for about 4 years but either we forget to Pursue it or SS decides he wants to wait till “next season”.  He’s goes to sports camp for two weeks in the summer and plays with friends Occasionally but that’s it for Experience. Im thinking the older SS gets its going to be harder for him to just join a team with little Formal instruction. Im thinking if SS keeps dragging his feet the other kids are going to be so much more advanced and he will have a hard time. What age do you guys feel kids sports start getting Competitive? 



Myss.Tique D'Off's picture

What do you mean by "hard or competitive"? Are you talking about the level kids play at such as first team, second team, third team; or are you talking about kids playing in different ranked leagues with an aim of playing professional or semi professional sport? This isnt clear. It isn't clear either if you are talking about playing school sport or outside club sport - and this is made harder because  I can not tell your son's age. That said, here goes...

Personally I don't believe that it is hard for a child (of any age) to join a sports programme or club that interests them. It should be encouraged - not just because of the benefits of physical exercise, team spirit, making friends, having an outside interest, etc. Experience levels (mostly lack thereof) are always accommodated, unless he wants to join a professional team...
My son(13)  goes to a school where sport codes are compulsory and depending on the level kids play at due to their ability, they play in the first team, second or third. They have a summer sports code and a winter sports code. This tries to accommodate for the kid's interest and level they play at. It helps as many practices are after school or during physical education periods so kids get to play. Also most games are held on school days so it doesn't interfere with weekends, but means you need to be aware of your kid's school calendar and events.  It keeps them busy and out of mischief!
Check out your SS's son's school sport policy and see if you can get him interested in something at school. My son plays soccer (football!) in the winter and cricket in the summer at his school.

My son also plays soccer for an outside club.  Most outside sports clubs are always looking for new juniors or new members. Again, they manage people to integrate people with zero experience to those that play on their first teams. Choosing a sports club to start with for a sport's code can also help in easing your SS into being a new member.  Some clubs are better as training grounds for new kids than others. (I live in a small town and even here you can differentiate between sports clubs). If your SS is older you may want to look at the outside of school club option for a new sport. (I started playing volleyball at 16 with no experience or knowledge of the game at all. I went through the training with club and started on their second team in my third week (sub in my second). The right team will ease you in to playing at any level and age... My Dad played seniors cricket well into his 50s and 60s (he played since he was a preteen). There   probably  is a league for choice of sport and level no matter what your  SS's age - so hard and competitive would not be an issue if he wants to play.   

All that said... Your SS should make up his mind if he wants to play or not. Its nice to have an intention and put it off, but this is not really showing commitment to playing. He should try out and not put it off due to his experience level. However, so many kids intend to play and then drop playing shortly after signing up. It boils down to a waste of time and money.  Their are costs involved: you will need to buy sports clothes / shoes / equipment (in some instances) and often their are season playing fees which are paid upfront. So it could be an expensive exercise to take up and drop for lack of commitment - and waste of time for a club or team who also make a commitment to teaching you a sport. Hopefully this is of some help to you - even if only based on my personal experience.

Tinalynn45's picture

I was a chubby kid so I never did sports so all this sport terminology is new to me. SS is 10 yrs old. I don’t know what first team second team or third mean. I’m definitely not talking about professional level or a travel team. Around where we live there are sports clubs for kids to join To play games on the weekend and may be a practice during the week. Also I know when kids hit middle school schools offer JV or junior varsity after school. So I’m talking about those two things above.  I remember going to watch my nieces soccer game when she was five at one of these clubs. Everyone seemed to be Clueless since they were so young and just running around having fun basically. Then I went to my nephews Little League game when he was 12. They seemed VERY Competitive and you could definitely tell Everyone Knew what they were doing and there was very little mistakes made. They were in it to win. These 12 yr olds could throw better then most men. I could not Imagine Some kid could just jump right in and join since they seem so advanced. what I’m trying to say is there has to be some age where sports go from little kids running around all clueless to kids know what they are doing and it would be hard for a kid with little experience to jump right in. Maybe I’m wrong but it seems around here there is a certain age that sports go from kids just having fun to a very Competitive level where everyone wants to win.

Myss.Tique D'Off's picture

Thanks for clearing up with more information Smile

10? He is perfect to start sport. Many kids start playing various sport (at least where I live) at around 10. Some even at 12/13 when they go to high school, so he is not too old.

Kids soccer at around the age of 5, 6 or 7 is chaotic... Yes, they all run in same direction bunched around a ball in a group most times. As the kids get older at around 10 to 12, they learn to play with better team co-ordination an some tactics... It looks less chaotic. Also at this age they all want to win - and it can be very competitive, but a good team will emphasise playing the game, not only winning. The kids in a good team will learn to be humble winners and graceful losers - always being respectful of their opponents with an emphasis on playing at their best.  

At any age, the kids are assessed as to how they play. Even the worst player will make a team if there is an emphasis on team spirit. Usually, the stronger or more experienced players are assigned to the "first  team", and the players with lesser experience or ability, play in the second or third teams - so that they play against kids who are of similar ability, making a game more evenly matched. First teams play first teams, second teams play second teams...

If your SS joins a club, they will guide him through games - how to play, where to play, understanding the rules. EVERY kid started out knowing NOTHING. Being committed to their sport (showing up for practice, listening to their coach, playing where assigned on the field, enjoying the game) will build your SS's experience. There are coaches and guides to help him learn to play. If there is a sports team, they will teach and coach him through what he needs to know.

I don't know the sports culture where you are, but here where I live, with young kids, there isn't a real emphasis on winning as the outcome. The emphasis is on playing and sportsmanship. Winning or losing is a reward in itself.  You also need to look at team culture of any team you want your young SS to join. If they do over-emphasise winning at an early age, it may not be the right environment for your SS to start out in. It can break his spirit... However, this may only be your impression: go visit the team and meet the coaches, talk to the other parents.

I have to wonder if your experience as a kid isn't holding both you and SS back from exploring a sports option... If he is interested, take him to see a practice match. See if it excites him. You talk to the parents and coaches, let your SS meet his prospective team mates... It may excite him enough to want to play.

justmakingthebest's picture

10 is not too late at all! Sure, many of the kids on his team will have been playing for 4-5 years but that is perfectly ok!! Just make sure he doesn't get discouraged if he isn't playing every inning and isn't a starter on the field. Usually at 10 they are still very fair. My daughter always moves up early (she has one of those birthdays right at a cut off) and will be the youngest on a team for the 1st year she does it. It always hurts her feelings but I have to explain over and over that the other kids have been playing longer. She is going to learn so much from them and next year when your friends catch up you are going to be the rock star on the field (and she is!).