Has your son or daughter just learned how to walk, but can already throw a round object across the room? How do you cultivate that talent? When should your child start playing baseball or softball?
For some perspective, All-Star pitcher CC Sabathia started playing baseball at four years old. Softball phenom Jennie Finch didn't play organized softball until she was eight. Mark Teixeira had his first glove when he was just one. And JD Drew, a former first round draft pick, started playing baseball at 13. Not only do results vary, but the answer to the question What age should my child start playing baseball? varies even more. The reason the answer varies is that every child is different. That said, a kid under the age of four may have skills, but will not fully comprehend organized sports or benefit from playing at a such a young age. Most children start playing baseball at four years old, but here is a breakdown of popular ages for children to start playing:
Four Years Old
Focus tends to be an issue at this age. Skills, knowledge, and improvements happen slowly at this age. If your desired result is for your child to run around and meet new friends, then this is a great age to start. However, starting a youth in hopes of getting a head start is misguided. Most baseball skills at this age will develop through repetition, which can be done more at home due to time.
Five Years Old
This is the common starting age for most recreational leagues. Why? Kindergarten has taught most children structure, discipline, and working with others. However, other than benefitting from more social interaction, there is no reason to start your child at this age. If your child does start at five years old, then Tee Ball is the recommended route. However, practicing how to swing a bat and how to throw a ball at home will be just as beneficial in their baseball or softball development.
Six Years Old
In terms of improvement, playing in the backyard will be more beneficial. But, this is an ideal age to start participating on a team that practices a couple of times per week. A number of kids start with Coach Pitch or Machine Pitch, which can help learn fundamental swinging skills, but can also create bad swinging habits.
Seven Years Old
The perfect age for starting organized baseball. Routines are solidified at school and home, social skills are more refined, and the ability to learn baseball skills as a team is more opportune at this age. At seven years old, Coach Pitch shouldn't be overwhelming and more talented kids should be able to handle another kid pitching to them.
Eight Years Old
If you've worked with your child at home on their throwing and swinging, then this is also a great age to start playing with a team. Machine Pitch or Coach Pitch should come pretty easy, especially if you have played catch in the backyard. Most team concepts and fundamental skills can be learned quicker than previous ages too.
Nine Years Old
Baseball can be learned at any time and any age. And, if your kid wants to be successful at baseball or softball, then hard work will be more important than what age they started playing. At this age, Kid Pitch should be played, and the biggest hurdle will be teaching your child not to be afraid of the ball.
What do you think? Let us know. Or, if you have any Tee Ball bat or youth baseball bat related questions, please give our friendly Bat Experts a call at any time of the day at 866-321-BATS (2287). Remember, we're here for you from click to hit!