When Should Your Young Athlete Begin Baseball or Softball Training?
By Jake Kirkland
As I speak to parents who are just setting out on the journey of youth athletics, one question that is often asked is “When should we start taking lessons?”.
The answer to that question is very specific to your own child. I have personally worked with players as young as 6 years old who were great students, and I have also worked with 12 year olds who were not quite ready for individual training. It depends on their attention span, as well as their love for the sport.
Whether your child is a natural or needs a lot of help, lessons can greatly benefit all players.
If your child is lacking in great technical or physical ability but has shown interest in the sport, taking lessons can provide a great foundation on which to allow him or her to develop proper mechanics and understanding of the game. This can greatly enhance their abilities and thus enjoyment of the game as they begin their playing days.
Other children may have already shown enhanced physical ability in the sport and desire to learn more. Individualized training can develop higher level skills while pushing them well beyond their current ability level. Lessons provide them with focused instruction well beyond what they may receive from team competition.
Children younger than 7 are generally not ready for regular, structured lessons. They should instead focus on having fun and learning basics through recreational programs or just playing with their friends. On the other end of that spectrum, players older than 9 tend to struggle as beginning students. It can be a real challenge to begin lessons at that age due to the more competitive nature of the sport. Of course, there are exceptions, and each child has their own unique situation. While there may not be a “perfect age” to start taking lessons, the sweet spot seems to be around 8 years old, with ages 7 through 9 being the target zone.
If done in the right environment and at the appropriate time, baseball and softball lessons can greatly influence your child’s self-confidence, physical fitness, and enjoyment of the game for years to come.