Should Children be in Competive Sports at a young age?

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Many American parents struggle to answer the puzzling question of what the appropriate age children should start to participate in competitive sports. A subject like this is puzzling because there are many issues that must be addressed, because it is controversial.

Some American parents push their children too far, too young. The average American child usually will start to participate actively in competitive sports between the ages of six and twelve and can be unhealthy to a child’s development (CWG 131). The question at what age a child should start, has a different answer for each individual child. Parents often fail to realize that their child may not be physically ready for competitive sports, even though the child is ready. I believe that a child should participate in sports only if he is wanting too participate and is not pushed by their parents. Every parent has a different way of looking at, if their child is ready to start. If a six year little boy wanted to start playing football, the child may not be fully capable of handling such strength and tension that might cause a life long injury (Koppett 294). Some parents may think he is ready, but is probably not. Determining whether or not a child is ready for competitive sports can sometimes be difficult to answer, because to determine if they are ready a child must be mentally ready also. Sports not only take physical strength, but a child must have psychological capacity to get them through such strenuous activity. A child may sometimes become scared when participating in sports. For example, A mother of an eight-year-old Peewee Football player explained, "The kids get so scared. They get hit once and they don’t want anything to do with football anymore. They’ll sit on the bench and pretend their leg hurts…"(qtd. In Tosched A32). This quote is a true statement because if a six-year-old child is playing peewee football with an eight-year-old, the eight-year old is a lot bigger that the six year old is and he could cause physical hurt to the six-year-olds tiny body. The psychological part of the story would be that the child would be so scared that he might get hurt which causes physical hurt as well as mental hurt and may scar the child for the rest of their life, when that child could of been the next pro-football player of the next century.

A child should not be competitive at an early age, they should be having fun and playing the sport in wanting to and not being pushed to do so. When I was younger, I participated on the swim team so I was introduced to Compton at the age of six. My parents never pushed me to do well, they always made sure that I was having fun and that it did not matter if I win or lose. I think every parent should understand, if their child is going to start competing at a young age, that the child is having fun and not getting criticized for their mistakes when they lose.

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