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At what Age Can My Kids Start Athletics?

22 November 2023

Children have so much to gain from athletic activities; nonetheless, parents often ponder about the right age their kids should start. The truth is no age is too young to start getting your kid to engage in athletic activities. 

There are many activities you can get your child involved in. For very young children, it is not so important to be involved in specific athletic activities - anything which uses their bodies and improves their coordination will help them gain the skills, strength and coordination required to take part in athletics when they are older. 

We will go over the athletic activity for different age groups. 

Below Age 7: Focus on Physical Activity 

The primary goal for children below the age of 7 is to expend some of their boundless energy through activities such as outdoor play, making up a dance routine, and riding scooters to school.

Young children often lack the motor skills necessary to participate in sports until they are about 4 or 5 years old, however they can practise running, jumping and learning to throw and catch a ball. Activities such as gymnastics, swimming and even having a kick about in the park will help them learn skills required for athletics. Keep in mind that development varies greatly amongst children. England Athletics have created a programme called Funetics for children aged 4-11, to support school PE teachers with introducing elements of athletics into primary schools.

Ages 7-10

At this age, children can start taking part in specific athletic activities and have more ability to understand the rules. Outside of school PE lessons, there are groups your child can attend to learn the skills required for running, jumping and throwing sports and to try out sports which their primary school may not have the proper equipment or facilities for. If your child shows enthusiasm for athletics and other sports, you should take this into account when choosing a secondary school for them, and look for one which has good sporting facilities and training opportunities - alongside a strong academic curriculum. 

Aged 11+

By secondary school age, children can choose to specialise in the activities that suit them best and take part in more competitions. Athletics clubs have more opportunities for training and competition for these age groups. Your child could be selected to compete regionally and even nationally for their club or school. 

Their physical development will differ depending on the age they go through puberty. Having extra height and muscle mass is a significant advantage in many of the activities involved in athletics, however other skills such as coordination, balance and determination can be improved upon regardless. 

Most kids are mature enough for more advanced sports by the time they’re 12 years old. They can perform the complicated motor skills, teamwork, and strategic thinking necessary for various athletic competitions.

Additionally, at this stage, you should focus on getting your kids to warm up before exercise, stretching, and cooling down after the activity. 

Photo by Anete Lusina

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