Do You Have to Start Young to Be Successful in Sports?

UK Fitness Pro
UK Fitness Pro
· 4 min read
Kids starting sport young.

Many star athletes started their careers at a young age, training ever since they were in primary school. 

Often the earlier you start something, the better you'll become at it. However, that also forces a child to make sacrifices, including hanging out with friends and finding the time that allows them to relax. Starting sports at a young age can help someone grow up to be successful, but it's not necessarily the case for everyone. 

So, do you need to put your child into sports early to ensure their success.?

Benefits of Playing Sports at a Young Age

Playing sports at a young age gives children the time they need to develop their skills. 

Many kids have dreams of playing at the pro level, and many of them do not make it there. However, the earlier someone starts playing sports, they can start developing a passion and dedication. Playing sports also offers mental and physical health benefits. 

For example, not only can sports teach children how to cope with stress, it gives them the opportunity for physical activity every day. 

Teaches Lessons

Starting sports at a young age can help children develop valuable skills outside of sports. 

For example, they can start to learn the benefits of hard work, teaching them how to put all of their efforts into something they love. 

Of course, children can learn the benefits of hard work at any age and through any activity, but sports are just one outlet. 

Athletic Advantage

A boy starting sports young.

Playing sports at a young age can give children the athletic advantage they need to compete when they're older. 

It also teaches them how to play the sport, which can help them make school teams because coaches won't have to teach them anything about how to play. Ultimately, having an athletic advantage can help athletes become leaders because coaches will use them as examples of how to do things right. 

Additionally, being involved in sports can help promote a healthy, active lifestyle at a young age, giving them the mentality that physical health is important. 

Mental Health

Sports can improve mental health while also giving children an outlet for coping with their problems. 

You already know that physical activity is good for stress management, but it can also improve your child's self-esteem. Being active in sports can give children the confidence that they need to go out into the world and accomplish their dreams, whether or not those dreams involve becoming a professional athlete. Sports can also be a good outlet for anger and children can use sports as an effective coping strategy throughout the rest of their lives. A

Sports can also improve a child's social skills. As part of a team, your child will have to understand others and be able to communicate with them effectively. Teams become more like families in many cases, and they can help your child learn valuable skills for leading others. 

Is It Ever Too Late for Kids to Start Sports?

People all develop at different rates, so a child may not enjoy sports or be good at them until they're much older. 

Many people feel like they need to put their child in sports as soon as possible, but it's not necessary to be successful in sports. Kids can start playing competitively at any age, so it's never too late for your child to start a sport. 

If your kid wants to start playing a new sport, there's no reason to stop them, and they can even be better at that sport than the one they've been playing most of their life. Unfortunately, starting a sport later in life means having to spend more time developing the skills and learning how to play the game. 

Any child who is willing to put in the work and has natural talent can start sports no matter how old they are. That being said, many of the most successful athletes around the world started playing sports or becoming physically active and training between the ages of six and twelve. 

What Age is Best to Start Sports?

There is no magic number that will give your child a competitive edge. 

Ultimately, children are more likely to succeed in sports when they have the skills required by an individual sport. 

Most children don't have the motor skills for organized sports before the age of six. However, they can start becoming more physically active around this time. Basic sports and training, such as running around the yard or learning how to throw a ball, can start to hone a child's skills for other sports. 

After the age of six, children typically start playing organized sports, but they still don't have the hand-eye coordination that older kids do. However, between the ages of 10 to 12, children are ready for complex sports, including football. 

Do You Have to Start Young to Be Successful in Sports

Whether you have to start young to be successful in sports depends on your definition of success. 

Many people may believe they're successful when they end up on the high school basketball team, while others have goals of playing in the NFL. 

Many pro athletes started their sports as soon as they were able to as a child. However, that isn't the case for everyone. Just because Tiger Woods started playing golf when he was an infant doesn't mean everyone does. Many people start later in life and are successful, so it all depends on each individual person. 

You might also like these articles on sports that often get overlooked and the benefits of BCAAs and creatine for different athletes

Ashley Nielsen

An expert on starting sports young.

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a contributing writer at where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, or financial tips. During her free time she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.