Do you have a young child in your home who loves seeing basketball games as much as you do? If so, then you may want to consider getting them into the sport as an active participant. After all, if they’re already this amused by simply observing this awesome team sport live or on TV, imagine what kind of fun they’ll be having when they’re actually playing it. If nothing else, you’ll be helping them move around and be physically active, which is always a good idea for a growing kid.
That being said, just how early should you get a child playing basketball? When should you sign them up for basketball classes for kids, and are there any practical benefits to starting basketball at a young age? We’ll do our best to answer these questions, so be sure to read on.
At what age should a child start learning how to play basketball?
The consensus when it comes to how early children should start playing basketball is at around 5 or 6 years of age. Being this young, a child already has enough motor control to learn and execute the most basic of basketball skills, namely bouncing, catching, and throwing the ball. Of all the three skills, they’re likely to find the last the most fun, and thus, do it more frequently. Take advantage of this by giving your child a kiddie hoop set so that they can get used to aiming for the basket.
It’s when your child hits 7 or 9 years of age that they can start to handle dribbling as well as learning the rules of basketball as a sport. They should also be able to comprehend concepts like teamwork and sportsmanship well at this point. We recommend having them join a youth basketball team, not only to familiarise themselves with such concepts but also to immerse them in team-based basketball.
At age 10, your child should be ready to handle the more technical aspects of the game, such as speed dribbling, fake-outs, and other moves that require a significant amount of dexterity and skill. Signing them up for a basketball clinic or a school holiday basketball camps training program is something for you to seriously consider here, especially if it seems like your child is still enamoured with the sport.
Doing so will help further develop their interest and skill in basketball, and it could be a significant factor in having the sport help open doors for them in the future, such as with obtaining athletic scholarships. The key here is to decide with them, not for them, as they may also wish to move on to something new.
What are the benefits of basketball for kids?
There are many tangible benefits for kids to pick up basketball at an early age. The major ones include the following:
It helps them become physically fit
Basketball is a sport that demands a lot of energy, endurance, and physicality from its players. From practising skills and training for more complicated manoeuvres to playing the game itself, almost every aspect of basketball will have its participants moving and exercising vigorously. As such, you can expect your child to be exposed to the increasing levels of physical activity as they continue to actively participate in the sport. This will help them become physically fit and avoid becoming overweight.
It allows them to deal with stress in a healthy and productive manner
Everyone suffers from stress, and that includes your kid. By having them take up a physically demanding sport such as basketball, you give them a way to deal with their stress in a manner that contributes positively to their health and well-being. The quick movements and prolonged aerobic exercise that a game of basketball demands will help them vent any excess energy, exhausting them to the point that they can deal with their problems in a calmer and more relaxed state.
Even the act of practising shots alone can even be an introspective and meditative form of exercise, one that allows your child some alone time to process their thoughts and emotions internally.
It gives them confidence
Your child being well-versed in basketball gives them something immediately tangible to take pride in. This can easily translate into them getting a healthy boost to their self-confidence. Whether it’s being a sharpshooter with the ball at the three-point line, or being able to pick up fancy dribbling tricks with ease, your child having a physical talent or skill to display to their friends and acquaintances can be hugely beneficial in their ability to be comfortable in social settings.
It helps them become more social
Finally, basketball teaches your child to become more social. Since a game of basketball requires multiple participants, your child is guaranteed to meet with several other people whenever they decide to take part in it. Having this amount of regular social interaction will allow your child ample opportunity to make friends and form lifelong bonds, something that they can’t do just by staying at home. This will make it easier for them to be more outgoing and proactive, and such traits can help them greatly in their adult life.
Starting early at basketball can net huge benefits for your child
Having your child start basketball at a young age may seem unfit at first, especially when it begins to involve formal instructions and drills. However, if they seem to take a natural interest in the sport itself—and they don’t seem to dislike it being a regular part of their lives—then there’s no reason to deprive them of the opportunity to become good at it. The benefits listed above that they stand to gain—along with them learning valuable life lessons in the bargain—are more than enough reasons to get them the training they deserve.
So, if your child seems to display a burning passion for basketball, even at such an early age, then consider helping them to pursue the sport seriously. It may just be the path they were meant to take.