What... (i.e. camp, dance class, birthday party)
Pick a NYMetroParents Region: All Regions   Manhattan    Brooklyn    Queens    Westchester    Rockland   Fairfield    Nassau    Suffolk  




     Home  >  Articles  > Activities Tips
by NYMetroParents Staff

Related: sport specialization, children and sports, kids specializing in sports, age to specialize in sports,

Wondering if your child is too young to specialize in one sport? Monica Holmes, founder of a youth fitness consulting firm in Manhattan, explains what age is best to begin specialization and why your child should try out multiple sports at first.

child swimming

What age is best to specialize in a sport?

Specialization in a single sport before the age of 10 is becoming more common. Parents and coaches often encourage this practice, thinking it will lead to athletic success and possibly an athletic scholarship. But less than 1 percent of high school athletes nationwide will receive an athletic scholarship and very few of those are "full rides." Plus, specializing in a sport before the age of 10 can increase the chance of burnout. Therefore, experts believe that the ages of 12 to 13 are optimal to specialize in a sport.


Let your child play multiple sports.

Before your child can be great at any sport, he or she must be an athlete first. Early specialization hinders overall athletic development, while playing different sports will help your child develop a variety of skills. A great approach is to have your child play a team sport and an individual sport, such as basketball and martial arts. Another possibility is to combine indoor sports and outdoor sports, such as ice hockey and soccer. It is positive to change up the activity. Laying the foundation between the ages of 6 and 12 is beneficial so when your child does find a single sport that he wants to focus on, the fundamentals are already there. Basic athletic, tactical, and perceptual skills are transferable to all sports. Many successful athletes have backgrounds in sports other than the one they participate in, and most often they were involved in an activity that provided transferable fundamentals.


Sports should be enjoyable, with an opportunity to learn and grow.

A few questions to ask before your child participates in a sport are: What is my child going to learn from it? Will this help build a foundation for future activities? Is she/he going to enjoy it? Choosing a sport for your child should not be a stressful process. Find out what your child is really interested in and start investigating. Children are often interested in what they see. Go to sporting events and engage in conversations about the activity with your child. Parents and older siblings involved in sports are great examples for younger children. The activity needs to be a learning experience, and it needs to be enjoyable. If the fun factor is missing—no matter how good they are—they will not be interested in it for very long.


Monica Holmes is a former NCAA Division I volleyball coach who served as head coach of the volleyball team at Columbia University. She is also the founder of Movement Consulting, a youth fitness consulting firm located in Manhattan. For more information, call 212-203-9925 or visit movement-consulting.com.


Get a free whine stopper

Receive our weekly highlights newsletter · Over 1,000 local activities

More Activities Tips Articles

Queens of Lacrosse Empowers Girls Through Lax
Family-Friendly Bowling Alleys in the NY Metro Area
The Clover Hill School in Norwalk Celebrates Its 10th Year
Help Your Child Choose the Right Extracurricular Activities
Why I Chose Stage Crew Over Acting

Be a good fellow parent and share this with a friend who would be interested
Email Friend

Local Activities Tips Sponsors

Vincent Smith School
322 Port Washington Blvd
Port Washington, NY
The Vincent Smith School, located in Port Washingt...
Nadezhda Daycare
6568 Fitchet Street
Rego Park, NY

Field Station: Dinosaurs
One Dinosaur Way
Secaucus, NJ

Children's Acting Academy
131 W. 72nd St.
New York, NY
Do you want your child to learn acting & singing w...

Astoria Family Orthodontics
23-12 31st St.
Astoria, NY
718- 278-0358
Astoria Family Orthodontics - better known as 888-...
See Our Activities Tips Directory

local zones


Nassau cont.


Suffolk cont.


Westchester cont.



Rockland cont.


Queens cont.


Brooklyn cont.


Copyright 2015 NY Metro Parents Magazine Site Design: THE VOICE