Something that all parents, doctors, sports experts, coaches and everyone else agree on is that it is very healthy for every child to be involved in sports activities from an early age. The only thing parents wonder is when is the ideal time for their kid to start practicing a particular sport. There certainly cannot be just one answer, but many things must be analyzed.
First, not every sport is the same. It is known that usually children start training tennis the earliest, so the biggest stars of today’s tennis started training at the age of three. But our topic today is soccer, a sport that is the most popular in much of the world. In the USA, children usually play with a football or baseball ball first, but in the rest of the world, the first thing they do is kick a soccer ball. Therefore, in this text we will answer the question of what is the best age for your child to start soccer training, and in order to come to that answer we will have to analyze a few things.
Factors to pay attention to
We will first talk about the factors you need to pay attention to in order to know if your kid is ready for organized sports, regardless of age.
As we know, the level of maturity varies greatly between children of the same age. The first thing to pay attention to is the general maturity of your kid, both physical and mental. You can notice this in everyday activities as well as when playing with other children. If you see that he or she is always a leader among other children and that he is physically dominant, then he is probably ready to start training soccer.
Try to see what your kid’s level of interest in soccer is. Go outside with him, bring the ball and try to play with him. It is very easy to notice when someone is very interested in it, and also when someone is not interested at all. Even if he’s not interested, don’t think that means you should permanently give up soccer. Maybe it’s just not the right time. If he runs for the ball all the time, then you may have a new Cristiano Ronaldo in front of you.
Long term plans
Of course, you can’t know if your child will be the future winner of the Ballon d’Or or he won’t be interested in soccer at all. But usually every parent has some kind of long term plan when enrolling their child in training. And that is whether you want it to be just fun for the child or you want to invest serious time and money in kid to maybe become a pro player. The more serious your intentions, the sooner you should take your kid to soccer training.
What to do according to the child’s age?
Under the age of 3
If you have a toddler, in 99% of cases it is too early to start even for playing at home. Toddlers have neither the mental nor the physical ability to adopt anything complex, so you may eventually start using the ball in the game with them as they approach their third year.
From 3 to 5
If your kid is very talented for sports, between the ages of 3 and 5 he could start to show his first interests. So start, at least once a week to kick the ball with him, of course everything has to be age-appropriate. There is a possibility that he will start to adopt simpler movements, which will certainly be very good for his long term motor development.
From 5 to 7
Now we come to the age when it is possible for your child to start training soccer. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right time for every kid, but only if you notice he’s completely ready for it. It is important to be a good psychologist and to know your kid well so that you can make the right decision. If you see that the kid’s motor skills are well developed for that age and that he is already involved in group activities at school, then he is ready to enroll him in a youth soccer club. Otherwise, wait a few more years and until then you play soccer with him. Or you can start training him slowly, step by step. If you don’t have knowledge for something like that, don’t worry. There are many websites like LevelupCoaching.org where you can get instructions from the professional coaches.
From 7 to 13
Somewhere during this period your child has to start training soccer not only if he wants to be a pro, but generally if he wants to be solid in the sport. It is best to start before the age of ten, but it is not too late until the age of 13. After that, it is probably too late, unless he is extremely talented, because by then his peers will be far ahead in terms of both motor development and soccer skills.
Things to keep in mind
These are the things to keep in mind, so as not to approach all this wrongly.
It must be fun
Soccer must be fun for him in order to want to train it in the long run. The kid is too young to be motivated by money that can potentially be earned from sports or the fame that soccer players have. So the only thing a kid understands at a young age is fun. So never impose this as an obligation, but as something he can’t wait to do after school. And in time he will understand other things and he will treat it as an obligation, but only when he is mature enough.
Size doesn’t matter
You may think that he is undersized for sports and that is why you procrastinate to enroll him. Don’t make that mistake. If your child is undersized for his age, sports can only help him develop better. And also, soccer is not like basketball that he needs a huge frame to be successful. Leo Messi and many other celebrity players are only 5 ft 7 but that didn’t stop them from becoming best in the world.
The most important thing is to inquire well about the way the coaches work and the reputation of the youth club where you plan to enroll him. The role of the coach is crucial at any age, but especially when the children are young, because unprofessional coaches can lead to injuries that will adversely affect physical development. And they can also create an aversion to sports in children if they impose excessive demands on them.