Getting involved in sports!

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children have 1 hour of physical activity every day. Playing outside, especially as the weather improves, is a great way to accomplish this goal and joining a sports team is one way to get outside and get moving! Organized sports can be physically and mentally challenging, so it is important to assess if your child is ready to join a team or program. 

Children younger than 6 years old often have trouble joining organized sports groups due to still developing motor skills and short attention spans. They often learn better through active play than formal instruction. Giving these children the space to explore, experiment, and play is a more effective way for them to develop skills like running and tumbling, but a highly structured competitive environment is not appropriate for this young population. 

As children get older, motor skills and focusing improves! Children between the ages of 6-9 years old may not yet have complex motor skills, but many organized activities or sports can be modified or adapted to appropriately fit your child’s level. Sports like soccer, martial arts, and tee-ball can be fun ways to get your child involved in sports. Keep in mind that at this age, the focus should be less on winning or keeping score, and more on learning new skills and participating. Rules should be flexible, and characteristics of the game may need to be altered (such as length of time playing, smaller fields, or smaller/lighter equipment). By the time your child is 10-12 years old, they are often ready to start trying more complex sports, or they may need few alterations in play. Despite sports becoming more complicated, the focus should still be on teamwork and participation, rather than emphasizing winning vs losing.

Regardless of their age, playing sports is a great way to stay fit and develop new physical skills. Keep the focus of the game on having fun and learning skills; help teach your child that their self worth is not dependent on their performance in sports or on the outcome of their game. Be on the lookout for signs of burnout and listen for complaints of pain or discomfort to treat or prevent overuse injuries. Contact us if you have questions about getting involved in sports or about your child’s physical health!

Healthy Children. (October 8, 2019). Is your child ready for sports?

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13880 Braddock Road Suite 201 Centreville, VA 20121

Hours of Operation

Our phones are only open 8AM to 5PM M-F and Saturday 8:30-10. Below are the times that patients are scheduled. We close for lunch 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM.

Union Mill Pediatrics


8:00 am-7:00 pm


8:00 am-7:00 pm


8:00 am-7:00 pm


8:00 am-7:00 pm


8:00 am-6:00 pm


Call For Saturday Triage Service: 8:30-10:00