Getting Baby Ready For the Big Leagues

Want your daughter to be the next Serena Williams or Michelle Wie? You’re not alone. Many parents are enrolling their kids in sporting programs earlier and earlier, some as soon as four months of age. So how young is too young?

Some say there’s no such thing. Even if parents aren’t swinging for the bleachers of professional sports, they figure if it can help their kid get even the slightest edge over the competition, what’s the harm? No one wants their little Johnny to be picked last to join the team.

I think it’s great to introduce kids to all kinds of new things, but touting a technically correct way to hold a tennis racket to a 6-month-old is a bit much. The same with soccer programs for kids who can’t yet walk.

This is when people get too carried away in the parental push to give our kids the best and to be the best. Sporting programs for babies aren’t guaranteed to give your kids a head start and some doctors worry it could mean there will be even younger kids with overuse injuries.

That being said I think organized sports are great, they get you physically active, help with socialization, self-discipline, confidence, etc. etc.  Logan’s in swimming lessons and last summer he went to a week long Chicago Fire soccer camp with his dad. He loved it so much we signed him up for Lil’ Kickers, another soccer program that starts next week.

In these programs, there’s no pressure to grow up and bend it like Beckham. It’s organized chaos of flying mini soccer balls where the only goal is to have fun. And isn’t that supposed to be the point?

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2 responses to “Getting Baby Ready For the Big Leagues

  1. I wanted to sign my oldest, 6, up for softball/baseball this year, but my husband says she needs to wait one more year. Of course he has no problem with me signing my son up for T-ball next year at four. Go figure.

  2. Great article! I agree, at such a young age it should be about letting the child play to improve motor skills and have fun, not to make a career out of it. My 4 year old son is taking a sports class at The Little Gym and just finished learning how to hold a hockey stick and had fun with a couple other little kids hitting a puck around. Now they are on to miniature golf. It’s all about exposing our children to lots of different things and letting them take the lead on whether or not to pursue it more down the road without pressure from mom or dad.

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