Is Starting Sports at Six Years Old Too Late? #BravesBloggers

This has been an intense sports month for A.J. We started attending a local church’s summer basketball pick up game night AND he attended Braves Baseball Camp. (I’m a Braves Blogger for 2016 and will share news about the team, family fun and new Cobb County stadium.) For your six-year-old this may not be a big deal. But for A.J. it’s A LOT because he’s never played organized sports – until now. Before I get to baseball, let me tell you about his experience with basketball.

Rehoboth Basketball


Here’s a short video of him playing basketball that I shared on the Mommy Talk Show Facebook page. Thankfully organizers at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Tucker lowered the rim down to about eight feet.

Is Starting Sports at Six Years Old Too Late?

On the most recent night, the other players at pickup basketball have been few years older than A.J. When I told his team that he’s new to basketball, they were really patient with him.

They passed him the ball lightly.

They let him travel and double dribble without calling him on it.

They gave him multiple attempts to shoot the basketball.

Even with all of this patience and the high fives and encouragement as we left the gym, his face was sullen and defeated.

“I’m too tiny,” he complained. I did my best to reassure him this won’t always be the case. He’ll grow.

At bedtime, I asked him to remember his feelings about basketball.

Mom: Remember when you said “I’m too tiny”?”

A.J. “Yes.” (insert sad face)

Mom: “Did any of those kids on your team tell you that?”

A.J.: Shakes his head no.

Mom: “You told it to yourself. You have to stay positive. Remember the lessons from Braves camp? ‘Play the game’ and ‘Bounce, don’t break'”?

How do you encourage your little athletes when they down and dismayed?

Starting Sports at Six Years Old


All week he’s needed encouragement. His first day of Braves Baseball Camp was a little rough. Although I did my best to remind him there would be kids who knew A LOT about baseball and kids like him who are NEW to the game, he had a few sad moments. He didn’t know the areas of the field or player positions AT FIRST. Fast forward a few days – his knowledge and familiarity with the game increase exponentially.

Thankfully, his coaches and teammates encouraged him all week. The coaches were great about giving parents a report each day about how their camper did.

I loved how there were three female coaches on staff too! Every once in a while, A.J. shows some signs of “sexism” and says things about what girls can do and what boys can do. I believe boys need to see women who can compete, have expertise and lead! Coach Amanda gave him a much-needed talk on the last day of camp about how practice and commitment are the key to success at sports. By the way, girls are WELCOME at Braves Baseball Camp. The fundamentals they explored work for baseball AND softball.


Braves Baseball Camp Bus

The high point of his week was his very first field trip. Each weekly camp includes a trip to Turner Field to tour the museum and meet Braves players.

A.J. and the campers met second baseman Jace Peterson and asked some great questions during the Q&A:

What’s your routine on game days?

What do you eat for breakfast?
Has baseball changed your life?

Aren’t those great questions? His coaches told A.J. they were moved by his questions and inquisitiveness.

So do I wish we’d started him with baseball sooner? Kinda. His interest level is high now. He can grasp a lot of the core ideas. He’d definitely be more advanced with the technical aspects of baseball AND basketball. But I’m also a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and WHEN it’s supposed to!

Comment below: Did your children start playing organized sports earlier than six years old? How can you determine when they’re ready to play sports? How do you handle their request to quit or change sports?

Homer at Braves Camp

About Joyce Brewer

Creator & Host of Mommy Talk Show. Emmy award-winning TV journalist.Wife & Mommy; Mom Blogger; Social Media Coach; Long Island, New York transplant living in Atlanta, GA. Follow Joyce on Twitter @MommyTalkShow Author of Use What You Know: A Business Idea Guide for Moms featuring interviews with mompreneurs who created businesses using their skills & backgrounds.

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  1. Most kids that do sports started around A.J.’s age – six or seven. Any earlier than that, and they’re not really learning anything, just having fun running around. Which is fine, too. It sounds like he’s more nervous because he’s trying something totally new for him – which is absolutely normal. It’s also important for him to think he automatically has to be good at something/everything. He won’t be – that’s a struggle that we’re still dealing with at 13. OY.

    Plus, I feel his pain at being….vertically challenged. I’m barely 5’3″ these days. 🙂

  2. This is something I struggled with too, but the opposite. When my now 6 year old attended Preschool, they offered a ballet class that would be taught at the school and it was very reasonably priced. I couldn’t turn down the opportunity for my daughter to have an outlet to twirl and dance, which she did all day anyway. She was 3, for the longest time I thought she was too young, but other parents had their 3 year olds in the class, maybe not. Then she begged me to put her in soccer and I knew that at 3 and 4, she was just too young. But at 4, almost 5 I found a Soccer league for her. She loved the first season but then it got harder and she got frustrated and gave up. After the 2nd season, she didn’t want to play any more. It wasn’t because she wasn’t learning and doing well, it was because she actually had to work at it. So do I let her quit because she was only 5 and she’ll learn eventually that good things come from hard work or do I not let her quit just because it’s hard?

    She no longer is in ballet, because it became less convenient and more expensive. But she played soccer this passed Spring and will again in the Fall. No 6 isn’t too old, but I often wonder if we push our kids too much too early.

  3. 6 years old is definitely not too late. I think it’s actually the perfect time for them to really grasp important concepts and learn what it means to commit to something. I also love how you and his coaches keep encouraging him to push through his fears! “Bounce, don’t break” is a mantra we can use through adulthood!
    I hope this experience truly changes his life and I look forward to some wonderful updates!

  4. Kids can start playing sports whenever you both feel like they’re ready! With their parent’s support, anything is possible to conquer at that age! Good luck!

  5. 6 years old is definitely not too late to start sports! I started playing soccer when I was roughly 10 years old and, while I wish I had started earlier, with a bit of practice and hours training, I was at the same level as most kids in my age group. It also depends on how the child feels. Maybe A.J will end up playing a sport later he has no interest in right now.

  6. I did several sports when I was younger but didn’t find my favorite (hockey) until I was 14. Four years later, I was playing in college at the Division 1 level. It’s never too late!!!

    • I hope not. I didn’t start basketball until the 9th grade. I wasn’t great. But I still have skills!

  7. This is a great article! And I think age should not be a big of a deal. As long as, we get to give our kids the happiness they deserve and we see them enjoying as well, I would take that any time of the day, any day of the year.

  8. I stay motivate by working out with my hubby!