Pros and Cons of Starting Sports Young

 In Coaches, Healthy Lifestyles, Professional & Olympic Athletes

We have all seen and heard stories about prodigy athletes who start sports at 3 or 4 years old and now are the phenoms in their field. At age 3, Kobe Bryant told his mom he was going to grow up and be a professional basketball player. Shaun White obtained his first snowboarding sponsorship at age 7. Tiger Woods was golfing at the mature age of 2. It seems obvious that if a child wants to be the best in the world, training must start early. It will help them be motivated and successful if they are passionate about one particular sport, right?

Not necessarily. Yes, there are many positives about starting your child early in athletics but there are also negatives that need to be addressed.


1. Develop coordination – early athletic development can help children with their balance and coordination
2. Begin an active lifestyle – teach young children that being active is healthy and fun will promote a healthier wellbeing
3. Organized activities with other children their age – aid in social development, give the children something to look forward to, and teach responsibility
4. Develop motivation and focus – increase self esteem by starting a sport early and help children learn to focus during the sport


1. Burn out – starting a child too early in a sport could cause them to burn out and not want to play when they get older
2. Bullying – poor experiences with other players or a coach could cause a child to lose self esteem early
3. Anxiety – sometimes the pressure of athletics can be too much for a child and may cause them to feel nervous before competition

In the end, you are the one who knows your child best and can make a decision one way or the other that is in their best interest. Just remember to consider all the pros and cons when choosing to start your child in athletics at an early age.

Dr. Michelle Cleere
In her own private practice as an elite performance expert, Dr. Michelle Cleere helps top athletes, musicians, and executives in competitive fields unlock the power of the mind and create the mental toughness to be the best. Dr. Michelle’s extensive academic background, which includes a PhD in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Sports Psychology, allows her to help clients deal with performance anxiety, gain more confidence, and build resilience. In addition to personal coaching, Dr. Michelle takes on many roles – a best-selling author, athlete, and teacher. Dr. Michelle’s bestseller line, Beating the Demons, helps clients develop practical skills to gain more control over competitive environments and mitigate the interruption in play to overcome intense odds and defeat adversity. As a 15-year USAT Coach, she developed simple and effective tools to mentally train her athletes, and they are used by coaches around the world. She is a professor at John F. Kennedy University where she teacher her students to use the mind as an ally to improve performance.
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