Older Kids, New Sports

19 Dec

One of the trends I’ve noticed in the past several years is families tend to start a sport when their child is young (four or five years old) and stay with that sport.  Increasingly so, the child will play the same sport Fall and Spring (and maybe even Winter).

But occasionally for one reason or another, there is a time the athlete will take on a new sport at an age past the average entry point.  Depending on the child’s overall athleticism, it will be a period of adjustment.  At our soccer club, the Recreation program is open to all players regardless of skill or experience.  But what will the first season be like for a new player?

Setting Expectations

It’s important as a parent to consider where your child will fall into the team.

Ideally, you will already know another family on the team.  This will help aide your child’s entry to the sport and your child will have at least friend on the team already.

In terms of on-field skills, you will need to help your athlete be prepared for where they may fall in the skills spectrum.  Explain to them that the other players may have acquired their skills over several years of playing the sport, and they can’t expect to match them in several hours of play.

Putting in Time

Depending on your child’s objectives – and where he places value in playing sports – be prepared to find time to build more skills away from practice and games.

Practices in most sports are for the purpose of building skills and building team functionality.  If the majority of the team is already operating at a higher skill level, it will be difficult to find time in practice to work on the basic skills.

It’s Not Impossible

Above all, trying new sports should be encouraged!  Playing a new sport at an older age isn’t impossible.  I started playing soccer at age 32, and while I am far below the skill of many players I play with – I’ve developed on skill and tactic the last several seasons.

My older son played one season of U6, and then resumed soccer at the back half of U7 and has become a solid contributor on his teams through mastering ball control.

 

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