Sachin Tendulkar had made his cricket debut for Team India at the tender age of 14 years. Michael Chang won the French Open Singles title at the age of 17.

So what are the benefits of sports and why should children begin playing sports at a young age?

Sports and Physique

Sports improve physical conditioning of the body, making children fitter and stronger.

If you are a parent whose children are playing sports every day, allow them to do so like a part of their daily routine, as important as eating, studying and sleeping. They’ll one day thank you for making them health conscious from so early in life. And if you are a parent who thinks sports can wait, think again.

A gamut of childhood diseases are almost direct results of weaker health, a fact that may be improved with daily sports activities.

Sports and Emotions

Sports not only improve physical condition of the body, for children it provides them with the right technique to deal with life.

A win in a game offers emotional thrill and happiness. On the other hand, a loss helps them to cope with disappointment and makes them stronger to come back tomorrow and play again.

Playing a sport for many years helps children understand and respect discipline and hard work that goes behind success, and motivates them to reach for the stars.

Sports and Peers

Children often bond the best with their sports partners and team mates as they exchange feedback, emotional support, experiences and knowledge with them.

They learn to make friends and respect others. They also become confident in social circles as they learn to voice their opinions and concerns with strangers, such as, other players, trainers and organizers of sporting events.

Parental Guidelines

Parents who are interested in getting their children interested in sports may need to keep some guidelines in mind.

Should Pursue Age Appropriate Sports

Till around five years of age, children remain too small to participate in any organised sports like tennis, football, or cricket. This age is best to let them learn dancing, running, cycling, or even supervised swimming. For older children till around seven years of age, sports like football, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, golf, and track and field may be introduced.

Should Wear Appropriate Gears 

Every sport has its own kind of gears and apparels meant to allow the participant benefit most from it, without injuring himself. It’s important to follow that, or risk childhood sports injuries that may become hugely bothersome in adulthood.

Should be Properly Hydrated and Nourished

Sports are strenuous activities, and children often overlook their body requirements and get carried away by the thrill of it. It’s important to make them aware of their body demands for food and hydration, as well as when body gives out warning signals as pain or fatigue. Parental awareness in these areas will help nurture their talents.

Sports are tremendously beneficial for children, and yet it’s important for parents not to encourage children to take up a sport to earn money. It’s when parents start pushing children to compete in all levels to earn money, the pressure on children builds up. A talented child will go ahead, but pressuring him from an early age may not benefit the child at all. Children need our encouragement in sports and not the burden of our unfulfilled ambitions.