Are Parents Starting Kids In Sports Too Soon?

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I recently passed a sports field near my house where the children playing soccer appeared to be three- or four-years-old. It was precious to watch them. Later I began thinking about my own pre-schoolers and whether this means that I should be putting them into their first team sports. I did a little research and was surprised at the options available for getting your kids into the sport-industrial-complex.

But I decided that, like many other things I could sign them up for, I’d prefer to wait. They’ll have plenty of time to explore competitive sports. And they have so much fun with their free time as it is. My girls love to play games and run around and even create some rules for their activities. I think these skills will translate fine when the appropriate time comes.

On the other hand, I found — via the Wall Street Journal — this group called LIL’ RUGGERS. The site encourages even the youngest of children to begin their rugby career — with tag rugby. “Rugby is one of the most popular sports in the world, it is a game of honor, respect, and unsurpassed sportsmanship. Currently it is spreading across the country like wildfire with youth leagues and high school teams sprouting up everywhere. Start your LIL’ RUGGER today!”

Obviously there’s demand for such sport opportunities — but some folks caution that you might want to wait before getting your kids suited up with shin guards:

Allston Stubbs, M.D., an orthopedist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, NC, says he’s seeing more adolescents and preteens with serious overuse injuries than ever before. “They’re coming in with major shoulder, knee, and hip problems, including pulled or torn ACLs. And it’s in large part due to the fact that kids are starting sports at very young ages when their bones are still developing.”