I have a 5-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son. We don’t know what sports they will end up playing, but what things can we do to help their overall athleticism and prepare them for sports?
Raising Kids to Compete and Win
Do everything and anything that promotes physical activity. At this age, I don't suggest any organized sports unless it’s an individual sport, i.e., swimming or what we call puppy soccer, i.e., everyone just chases the ball around with no real objective but fun. Sport is a combination of balance, hand-eye coordination and overall physical strength and coordination. You can work on balance with tap dance or just walking on walls or jumping from paver to paver. Hop scotch and jumping rope are my favorites. Hand-eye coordination can be improved by just playing catch in the backyard (try water balloons) or even jumping up to pick some fruit from a tree. Overall strength comes from using as many muscles as possible in as many combinations as possible, like climbing trees, swinging on monkey bars – anything that promotes non-repetitive movements.
Peak Performance Coach
Great question! I would say any type of body movement is good. Gymnastics is good for both boys and girls at a young age because it really strengthens their core, which they will use for any and all sports (and life). Learning to tumble in a fun, non-competitive way is perfect. Five- and six-year-olds can be mastering skills of coordination, like jumping rope, riding a bike or taking karate, which teaches discipline and respect. Even learning to skateboard and ski are good muscle coordination-building skills. It doesn’t have to be an organized sport, but if he/she gravitates to that, it’s fine. Just keep it fun! Light, fun and all about making friends and learning a few fundamentals (in between picking dandelions). We want our kids to associate moving their bodies with joy. If there is something you can do with them that they like, i.e., hiking, swimming, biking, skateboarding, skiing, etc., even better!
Facebook Kirsten Jones Inc Sports, #RaisingAthletesPodcast