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Is My Child Physically Ready to Play Sports?

According to the Novak Djokovic Foundation, the importance of sports for children is well documented. And if you’re a sports enthusiast yourself, you’re probably champing at the bit to get your child signed up for some kind of organized physical activity. Still, it’s necessary to consider whether or not your child is physically ready to begin playing sports before they start. 

At the practice of Smita Tandon, MD, in Fountain Valley, California, Dr. Smita Tandon and Dr. Angeli Suarez want to ensure that your children are prepared physically for the demands of sports before they get out on the field. This type of preparation includes knowing when to sign up your child for activities, what to sign them up for, and getting sports physical

When is a child ready for sports? 

Different sports require different abilities, some of which very young children may not have. For this reason, it’s important to consider your child’s age and their generally proven abilities before placing them in a specific sport. 

Ages 3-5 

Children ages 3-5 are just beginning to develop their motor skills. This means they will not usually have the capability of learning the necessary skills to participate in organized sports. 

However, children of this age can still get their exercise through a number of activities, including swimming, tumbling, running, catching, throwing, and riding a tricycle. Adults are encouraged to let children go at their own pace at this stage and to limit rules or instructions, as younger children often learn by exploring. 

Ages 6-9

Children ages 6-9 can often begin to participate in organized sports, though it’s best to avoid complex, detailed, and strategy-based activities, such as football, hockey, or basketball. These sports can require quick decision-making skills that children of this age might not yet have. If you do want your child to play these sports at this age, choose a program that modifies the rules for younger kids. 

You may also want to try getting your child involved in activities that encourage running, swimming, and hand-eye coordination. Soccer, baseball, gymnastics, and martial arts are all great options for children at this level of development. 

Ages 10-12

Usually, at this stage of life, most children are ready for the physical demands of most sports. Their motor skills, coordination, and mental development are at a point where they will be able to engage in more complex sports, and they will also be able to understand and grasp the concepts of teamwork and competitive strategy. 

Getting a sports physical 

Though these age distinctions may be an easy way to determine whether most children are ready for sports, every child is unique, which is why we encourage all children to get a sports physical before they hit the field. A sports physical will allow us to determine if your child is healthy enough for a particular sport. 

We will test your child’s flexibility, strength, posture, and joint mobility. We can also help your child prepare for the mental and physical strains of sports and help them get excited for their new and exciting enterprise.

If you want to set up a sports physical for your child, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice today.

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