Start playing sports early

Published 12:01 am Thursday, December 20, 2012

On a warm Saturday afternoon, I sat watching the tail-end of a youth football game at Andalusia High School.

I was at the top of the stands, looking down from afar, and noticed a few kids playing a small game of no-rule football.

About four to five kids were going at it without a care in the world. I can still see the smiles on their faces.

While observing this joyous game, I thought about how important it is for an athlete of any sport to start playing at an early age.

When I interview players on feature stories, I always ask when they started playing the sport they love so much.

Usually, it’s playing in the midget, tinymite or peewee league for football, and city or county league for basketball, baseball and softball.

Each athlete who has gotten off to an early start, and in the long run, it will pay off in dividends. From one age group to another, the athlete will build experience, getting better and better each year.

I don’t think you’ll hear any coaches say that they don’t encourage kids to participate in organized sports at a young age.

Starting at such a young age will better lay a foundation for the player’s skill and desire to play the sport later in life.

It’s fun to see an athlete compete at his or her best, and later finding out that they competed in sports so young.

So young in fact, that the first thing they did when they started walking was either pick up a baseball bat, football or baseball.

To those moms or dads out there, encourage your children to be active in sports or any activity at an early age, because it will benefit them in the long run.

But for now, it’ll help put a smile on their faces even you won’t forget.