What is the Best First Sport for Kids?

first sport To answer that question, I am going to do something my dad did to me and something I do a lot to my kids: Answer a question with a few questions.

You see, choosing a first sport for your child is not a right or wrong answer and it is as individual as your family and your kids. By asking yourself these questions, I hope you arrive at your own conclusion.

Question 1: What sport interests your child?

Give your child a few choices and let her decide. Take her to watch a soccer game or a basketball game or a t-ball game or a ballet class or gymnastics class. Talk with her and ask if she would like to try it for one season.  Of course, if she doesn’t like it, let her try something else the next season.

You might also notice which sports she naturally gravitates to on her own, either watching on TV or on the playground. Go outside and play with your child and tell her to choose the sport.

Question 2: What are his friends doing?

Putting your child in a sport with friends has several advantages: you can carpool to practices with mom-friends, your child has friends on the team which will help him feel more at ease, and you will have friends to socialize with at games and practices.

Question 3: How much money do you want to spend?

If the budget is tight, stick with sports that require less equipment: flag football, soccer, t-ball, gymnastics, basketball and stay away from sports with lots of equipment like hockey and tackle football.

Another way to save money is to look for sports programs with the city recreation leagues or YMCA.  And if their choices are limited, well then, that will help make your decision easier.

I cannot tell you which sport is a good place for your child to start. Of course, the popular choices are soccer, t-ball, hockey, gymnastics, or ballet.   If you’re considering tackle football, I’d do a little more investigating into whether you really want your little guys tackling at such a young age; there’s a lot of for/against arguments. Flag football is a great alternative for youngsters without the “violence” of tackle football.

As you choose a sport, remember this: what they play is not as important as the environment they are in when they play. It should be positive and fun, first and foremost. Skill development at such a young age is secondary.


Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called JBM Thinks and is the author of the Sports Parenting Survival Guide Series. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

photo credit: greg westfall. via photopin cc

Janis Meredith has been a coach's wife for 28 years and a sports mom for 20. She sees life from both sides of the bench. Check out her blog at jbm thinks.
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  1. says

    I think it’s important to look at what your child likes to do now for fun and see what sport fits. If they love jumping and tumbling maybe gymnastics is a great starting sport. If they really love to run maybe soccer is a better option. It’s much easier to play sports when you love the activity!

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