Written off at age 9?(138 Posts)
Feel so bad for my DS. After years of shyness he has suddenly decided he wants to try some sports clubs and even start competing (no idea where it’s come from!), but it seems at age 9 he has no chance. The sports he wants to try, tennis and football, have pathways locally and by age 9 the level you need to be at is much higher than complete beginner. He likes swimming and climbing but those are individual sports (swim clubs here are v competitive to get into) and I feel so bad for him. Already the school sports are making selections and same names again and again get picked. Feel like as his confidence suddenly builds he has been left behind
Can he just start with swimming or diving lessons and see how he gets on? He may just enjoy it rather than be competing?
Yes he takes swimming lessons already. It’s him that wants to ‘start competing’, I actually wouldn’t encourage that as I don’t think he is as physically capable in most sports compared to the sports mad peers that have been in classes for the last five years. He was always too anxious to join in before due to shyness
He needs to join school sports clubs and build up his skills. If he is interested in swimming, get him some lessons to work on his technique. Anyone can take part in a club. To compete he will need to work on his skills. Letting him compete against kids that have been doing it for years won't do him much good anyway as he will not be successful and it will be obvious to him that he is behind. Getting to a reasonable enough standard to compete will take time and I would be talking with him about this and explaining the sports are like maths or any other subject; anyone can do them but you need to work to improve your skills if you want to enter competitions. In most schools there are however plenty of clubs taht you can join and play for fun while learning the skills.
What about martial arts? Great for confidence and people seem to start those a little older.
Have a hunt around for some more unusual sports, which people might not have been playing since they were younger. Korfball? Badminton? Martial arts? Diving? It's difficult though - a lot depends on what's available in your area, the culture of the clubs, and what ages they cater for. You really need something that has little provision for under 9s!
If he's naturally talented he'll pick it up.
What about martial arts, people seem to start at any age and progress.
Just read your update. You need to explain to him that he needs to develop his abilities first before he can compete.
Climbing can be taken to competition levels. He may not be too young if his technique is good.
Doesn't your school run clubs across ages that also take all abilities?
Ours does. For instance, there is rugby running a couple of times a week, and students join whichever level they are at, from mixed years. The competing is obviously different, but at least he can see how he progresses, and try a couple of different discliplines to see which he progresses at best.
Can you/family start off teaching the basics? Hiring a court, etc?
What about karate? My dc do club competitions at lower belts and regional or national at higher belts. He’s never to old to start.
It's not too late but it's a lesson he can learn that you can't just walk onto a team, and those kids have been putting the hours in for a couple of years now to get that good.
Puberty makes a huge difference in sports so if he sticks at it and joins in in secondary school then be can find his niche!
There are other team sorts that welcome beginners of all ages - can you steer him to those? Basketball is one - my not particularly sporty (but keen!) DC started aged 11. There are leagues of teams and the new players are near the bottom but competing against similar teams so it’s a great confidence builder! Also not typically a school sport so a great way to meet new people out of school and make friends ahead of highschool.
My ds started competitive swim club at 11. That's late. He was way behind his peers.
He's not now!
I think you need to either look for more unusual sports, like archery or orienteering etc., or build up his skills first if he really wants to play tennis/football. It's great that he wants to start competing, but does he understand that with team sports in particular, he has to be a certain standard in order to do this?
There are multiple football clubs around us, some you can just join for training not competing, could you try something like that then when he improves he will either be selected for matches or try and join a different team. My boys have played since age 5, but they still have new children joining their training sessions.
Grassroots football leagues have teams at every level, you need to look for the right club. If he starts going to a soccer school of some kind he can build up his skills from there, in preparation to join a team.
Our local tennis club has lessons for children, then all those who go to lessons have a chance to take part in tournaments. They don't exclude based on skill level.
I have those kids who get picked for everything as they are just very sporty, and in the clubs outside of school they play at a higher level. But there are lots of kids that get to compete in the sports that mine do, just at a lower level. But at our school they also enter completions that would be more suitable for kids not necessarily that way inclined so that everyone gets a chance to compete. In some school clubs just going along to the sessions each week means that you'll get to do the competitions
What about Rugby? My brothers were both members and found it much more inclusive than other sports.
Agree with Bristolean above. My son (10) plays football for the county but also for his grass roots club, and the boys and girls there are of all abilities, some absolute starters. Some clubs try and be selective so maybe try a couple and find one that fits.
He could try a martial art. Ime they are very egalitarian.
My son was like yours. Wanted to plsy a sport but was late starting. We tried football and it was awful. Only interested in the more able kids, even in training sessions he didn't get a look in. And the parents! Oh my! Just vile mostly.
He tried hockey and, 6 years later aged 14, he's just set off for his first mens team game. So my suggestion is try your local hockey club.
Lots of schools don't bother with hockey so the clubs take juniors from complete beginners and coach them up. It's a friendly, inclusive game and there's even something called Badgers hockey now where the youth start to play with the adults before moving onto the adult game.
I honestly can;t think of a more boring, exhausting thing for a child to get locked into than competitive swimming, so be glad you and he escaped those incessant 5am starts, the chlorine and the laps up and down county pools.
There are usually some more friendly clubs in every county. My DC joined a gorgeous rugby club, not for high flyers but for boys who wanted to play. They had a great time, got better due to excellent tuition and after a couple of years DS1 made the B team at school, A team reserves, which suited him fine.He needs to learn you start and work up, you don't drop straight into competitive sport.
Another vote for martial arts. He doesn't actually have to fight if he doesn't want to - lots of clubs offer no-contact martial arts now.
Martial arts are great at building confidence and core stability, which will help him with other sports, and he can progress through the levels at his own pace.
9 is not a baby. He’s old enough to be told that whilst you can look for local clubs/lessons he can join in with for enjoyment, he can’t just expect to jump into competitions when new to a sport
I can’t understand why you wouldn’t just tell him this from the off to be honest.
My older dc are 9 and 11 and have just joined our local athletics club. They’re ‘generally’ sporty but have never done the run/jump/throw intensive training that some have been for years. They’re enjoying it so far but if one of them suddenly expected to be added to the hurdling team i’d tell them not to be so soft as they’ve only been 3 times so far!
"My son was like yours. Wanted to plsy a sport but was late starting. We tried football and it was awful. Only interested in the more able kids, even in training sessions he didn't get a look in. And the parents! Oh my! Just vile mostly."
Talk about a cliche. OP ignore this, our football club is nothing like this, there aren't "vile" parents, have a look at what is available near you.
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