What is the optimal age to introduce competition for kids?

Optimally, younger athletes should begin to compete around the age of 13-14 years old. Focus on the word "compete." Youths compete everyday to some degree. However it is important to assist in teaching youth how to compete correctly, learning how to prepare to compete, and handling the results of competition, regardless of the outcome. Learning proper sportsmanship, competing with high effort, and working with teammates within a stress-filled environment are just some of the areas athletes need adult and coach assistance. Coaches should model the right behavior for their athletes by using examples in sports media (good or bad) and providing timely praise for the athlete's attitude and efforts, not just their ability to perform well or win.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.