CHS Blog

Picking the Right Sport for Your Child

Picking the Right Sport for Your Child
Posted on June 13, 2018 by CHS

Both children and adults need regular exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle. One way to motivate your child to exercise regularly is to have her participate in a sport. Not only will participating in a sport help your child stay active, it will also teach her important life values. To learn more about importance of exercise, read our Exercise brochure, and our Sports and Exercise blog. Sports can be separated into two categories; team and individual. Both types of sports encourage children to stay active and they each have their own advantages. It is important to consider all the advantages and drawbacks to each kind of sport, and the interests of your child, when deciding what a right sport is for her. Our blog will review team sports and individual sports and highlight key differences among both. Before deciding to start your child in a sports program, make sure that she is ready. It is recommended that a child should start organized sports until she is the age of six or seven, as their motor skills are still developing. Be sure to see your family doctor to make certain that your child is in good health before she starts a new activity.

Some team sports include basketball, football, soccer, and baseball. In team sports, children work together to accomplish a goal and follow a coach’s instruction during the game. Team sports can help encourage your child become motivated to improve her own skills with the support of the other members of the team. In most team sports, the focus is about what your child can do to support the whole team. For example, if your child makes a successful play, it’s the success of the entire team, not just hers. Team sports also build a sense of community amongst teammates and can improve social skills. Some drawbacks of team sports could be longer practices due to a large number of players, conflict among team members, or not getting enough play time due to differences in skill.

Individual sports include track and field, tennis, swimming, ice skating, gymnastics, and martial arts. In individual sports, everything depends on the individual. This means a child needs to be self-reliant and be comfortable in the spotlight. Like every sport, individuals are taught by a coach, however, if your child is competing in this kind of sport, she will have to depend on only her own skill to make sure she wins.. In general, introverts often enjoy individual sports, as they are usually in a smaller group setting compared to team sports. The need to be self-reliant in individual sports can help your child build confidence and leadership skills as she grows into adulthood. A drawback of individual sports could be that being in the spotlight can be especially nerve-racking for young children and be disappointing if they don’t win. However, overcoming these challenges could help her gain confidence in herself. While your child may compete in these sports alone, there is often still a sense of community amongst athletes. Children often practice with a group of people and go to competitions with their school or team. In addition, some sports such as tennis or track and field, have the option to play with another teammate, such as doubles for tennis or relay races for track.

Your child’s personality can often serve as a guide to which type of sport your child might enjoy. In general, extroverts typically enjoy team sports more while introverts may prefer individual sports. However, it is often helpful to expose your child to variety of sports so that she can figure out what she likes. While choosing sports that you enjoy may be a good start, it is important that you don’t pressure her into picking the same sport that you love and let her choose what she would enjoy playing. When she picks a sport that she enjoys, she is less likely to burn out and be more motivated to stick with the sport in the long run.

Additional Resources

Sign up for CHS updates
Areas of Interest


Children’s Home Society of California’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service have changed. Click here to learn more.