If you're looking for a physical activity to get your child off the couch, basketball is a sport that your boy or girl can start at an early age. Playing basketball helps children learn basic coordination and team-building skills with an added bonus of making new friends along the way. Getting your child going with basic basketball skills at a young age not only helps encourage exercise, but serves as a foundation for staying active later in life.
Some basketball programs begin for children as young as 5 years old. For young children, programs focus on developing basic skills and typically use shorter 6-foot rims. Rule-based play typically does not begin until kids are 7 to 9 years old. By fourth or fifth grade, many kids are ready to play basketball against other teams.
Children ages 6 to 17 require at least one hour of moderate-intensity physical activity every day. Kids should engage in vigorous-intensity physical activity three days each week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learning basketball allows children to incorporate frequent physical activity into their daily routines and contributes to overall physical well-being and fitness. In addition to coach-supervised basketball camps, kids can practice at home to stay active.
Learning to play basketball involves dribbling, throwing, catching and pivoting. Beginning basketball training at a young age improves gross motor skills by using major muscle groups. Young children who play basketball improve flexibility and endurance. Your child will also benefit from improved fine motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination. These motor skills transfer to other activities of daily life.
Becoming involved with basketball at an early age helps kids develop psychologically. Playing on a team allows your child to make friends and feel involved with her peer group. Team sports also improve a child's ability to communicate and solve basic problems. Experiencing the benefits and difficulties of healthy competition at a young age prepare children for failures later in life. Basketball teaches children social skills and coping strategies that are useful at school, home and in peer relationships.