What sports are best for kids?

There are so many sports available to children.  The "best" ones would be the ones in which your child is interested in participating.  Children develop at different rates, so one sport cannot be touted as the best for every child.  If your child has an abundance of energy he may enjoy soccer, basketball, or lacrosse; all of which are higher-intensity.  Other options include karate or other martial arts, swimming, baseball/softball, or even running.  It is important to remember that children also need a little downtime, just like adults.  Be sure to not over-schedule your child with activities.  Let him pick the ones he wants to play.  He will be happier, and so will you.
David Hogarth
Physical Therapy
Generally speaking, whatever type of physical activity a kid is interested in and willing to participate in regularly is the best activity for that kid! Expanding on the term “best” and modifying this question to ask what sports are optimal for the physical development of a kid requires a little more thought. Recognizing at what ages common skills typically emerge is a good guideline to figure out what types of sports a youth of a certain age will have success at. Setting the child up to have a chance at success is important to foster a long term love of sport and activity and thus the best chance at a healthy lifestyle. The focus before the age of 6 should be a wide range of FUN activities which provide basic movement activities rather than skill specific sports.

A general age guideline to begin specific activities is:

• Age2-3: running, kicking, striking.
• Age 3-4: balance, skating/skiing, jumping, swimming, cycling, throwing, and catching.
• For ages 6 to 9, consider actual “sports” which heavily rely on agility, balance, and coordination such as gymnastic, combative, racquet, and team sports.

These concepts have been well researched and organized on the Canadian Sport for Life website.
There are various sports that are good for kids. Gymnastics, tumbling, martial/combative arts are great for kids' first sports experience. The more variety the better! Like any endeavor, it comes down to the individual child and the time commitment capabilities of the parents and the child. As kids develop, integration into some team sports like soccer or flag football are great to enhance their athleticism as well as their life-long social skills. More technically skillful sports like lacrosse, baseball, softball, and volleyball can be started early but parents may want to limit highly competitive leagues until the athlete matures. Also, many sports require a high level of what is called "frustration tolerance." This is how athletes learn to deal with adversity. Young kids will need some personal coaching from parents or mentors with this concept before they are ready for a competitive group environment.

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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.