Excited about enrolling your child in a sport? Don’t fret … you are not alone! But where do you begin? Before enrolling your child, there are some things to look for ... and realize that there’s no “best” first sport; there are plenty of sports all kids can enjoy. You’ve heard how Tiger Woods learned golf from his dad at the age of 3, and you’ve seen Serena Williams’ 3-year-old daughter learning tennis.

But where should your child start? For many parents, the first sport they’ll sign a child up for will be T-Ball or soccer. But many kids start with basketball or the sport most favored by the parent. No matter what you choose, put playful learning at the middle of the experience and you’re sure to have a great time.

Your child’s first sport

Many children are introduced to a variety of sports before even learning to read, and while many preschoolers are ready for organized team sports, getting your child started should be about enjoyment.

If your 3- or 4-year-old wants to try T-Ball, scope out a team to watch together and see if it resonates. Or take a look at soccer — it’s an easy first sport because it’s a big ball and easy to start with for kids just developing coordination.   

First team sports should teach your child about listening, waiting, turn taking, following directions,
being physically active, and most importantly, it should encourage your child to have fun!

Giving your child the opportunity to dabble in a few youth sports will help him decide if he likes one over another.

For all kids starting sports, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids play multiple sports and delay specializing until age 15 to avoid injuries and burn out.

Starting out, as you work on deciding what sport to begin with, observe your child and steer him accordingly, says Jordan Metzl, M.D., author of The Young Athlete: A Sports Doctor’s Complete Guide for Parents.

Considerations

• Is your child old enough to make a commitment to an entire season?

• Has your child shown an interest in a sport?

• Does your child enjoy physical activity?

• Does your child enjoy playing with others and can he be separated
   from you?

• Is your child able to take turns?

Which sport?

• If your child gets along with others and loves to run, try soccer.

• If your child loves to tumble, has good balance and has upper body
   strength, try gymnastics.

• If your child loves to throw and catch, try T-Ball.

• If your child loves being in the water, try swimming.

• If your child loves to bounce a ball and can toss with good aim, try
   basketball.

• If your child loves the cold and sliding around, try ice hockey.

• If your child is a roughhouser, try football.

 

T-Ball and
Soccer for Beginners

T-BALL

Davidson County

Bellevue Sports Athletic Association
bsaainc.org

Ages 5 and older.
 

Metro Parks & Recreation
nashville.gov/Parks-and-Recreation/Athletics/Tee-Ball

Ages 4 - 6.
 

McCabe Park Little League
mccabelittleleague.com

Ages 5 and older.

Tennessee Youth Baseball Association
bsaainc.org

Ages 3 and older.

West Nashville Sports League
wnsl.org

Ages 5 and older.


Rutherford County

Murfreesboro Baseball Association
murfreesborobaseball.com

Ages 4 - 5.


Murfreesboro Optimist Little League Baseball
murfreesborooptimist.com

Ages 5 and older.

One Goal Sports
onegoalsports.com

Ages 4 - 5.


Sumner County

Gallatin Parks and Recreation
gallatintn.gov/1930/Baseball

Ages 5 - 6.

i9 Sports
i9sports.com/programs

Ages 3 - 4.

Hendersonville Parks and Recreation
hvilletn.org

Ages 4 - 5
 

Williamson County

Brentwood Civitan Club
brentwoodcivitan.org

Ages 5 - 6.z

Williamson County Parks and Recreation
wcparksandrec.com

Seven different locales to play. Ages 5 and older.
 

SOCCER
 

Davidson County


East Nash Soccer
eastnashsoccer.com

Ages 3 and older.

Harpeth Youth Soccer Association
Ages 3 and older.

Nashville Youth Soccer Association
Ages 3 and older.

Saint Bartholomew Soccer Academy
Preschoolers and older.

Tennessee Soccer Club
Preschoolers and older.

YMCA of Middle Tennessee
Ages vary by location.
 

Rutherford County


Murfreesboro Soccer Club
Ages 3 and older.

Rutherford County Soccer Association
Ages 3 and older

Spartan Soccer Academy
Ages 3 and older.

Stones River Futbol Club
Ages 3 and older.

YMCA of Middle Tennessee
Ages vary by location.
 

Sumner County

Gallatin Soccer Club
Ages 6 and older.

Hendersonville Soccer Club
Ages 6 and older.

Tennessee United Soccer Club
Ages 5 and older.

YMCA of Middle Tennessee
Ages vary by location.

 

Williamson County
 

Fairview Soccer Association
Ages 4 and older.

Soccer Shots
Ages 2 and older.

Spartan Soccer Academy
Ages 3 and older.

Williamson County Soccer
Association

Ages 4 and older.

Williamson County Parks and Recreation
Tiny Tots program for ages 2 - 6.

YMCA of Middle Tennessee
Ages vary by location.

 

FURTHER READING ON KIDS AND SPORTS

Back to School: Why kids need to play more than one sport - Metro US

Kids: Don't Specialize in Sports Too Soon

Sports Injuries Among Kids