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Checklist to Help Determine If your Child Should Participate in a Certain Sport

Checklist to Help Determine If your Child Should Participate in a Certain Sport

By: Megan Piersol, DPT

As you prepare to place your child in a sport or activity, it is always good to do some research about the particular sport, staff, equipment needed/provided, and facility as well as asking some important questions to better determine if your child is ready or will be in good hands. The following outlines some questions you should ask yourself, the coach, or the organization before placing your child in any sport:

  • Your Child

    • Have they expressed a desire to play the sport?
    • Just because you played the sport as a child doesn’t mean that your child will or will want to. Make sure it is fun for your child.
    • Do they know how the sport is played or at least want to learn the sport if not?
    • Does their personality match the sport they are playing?
    • Are they willing to put in the work, time, and dedication needed to train their body (for older children)?
    • For certain hand/eye coordination sports, does your child have the coordination needed (if not, you may want to choose a different sport that doesn’t require a lot of hand/eye coordination or wait until they develop these skills better so that they can enjoy the sport)?

  • Yourself

    • Will you make the time to watch your child play and support them?
    • Do you have someone that can take your child to practice and watch them if you cannot?
    • What sport do you have the means for your child to play (or is there somewhere you can get “hand me down” equipment – when appropriate and doesn’t have to be new like shoes, shin guards, etc)?


  • Coach

    • Has the coached played the sport or have knowledge of how the sport is to be played
    • What are the coach’s training and education, and does he/she have any needed certification(s)?
    • Does the coach recognize signs and symptoms of various conditions, injuries, and/or need for players to be taken out for rest and/or rehydration?
    • Does the coach have a healthy attitude about exercise and training/conditioning?
      • The “no pain, no gain” attitude is not healthy
    • Will the coach make this sport fun for my child?
    • Does everyone get an equal opportunity to play (some coaches are all about winning and not letting everyone get a turn to play regardless of their skill; this may change some as you get into high school, higher level, and collegiate sports)?

  • The Facility/Organization

    • Is there any medical aid during practice and games?
    • Are there ample medical supplies available in case of injury?
    • Are there guidelines in place for when an injury occurs?
    • What is the protocol for medical emergencies?

  • The Sport

    • Are there rules and regulations placed that will limit the amount of forceful impact my child will experience playing the sport?
    • Is the sports age appropriate for my child?
    • Is my child ready for the sport?
    • What kind of equipment is needed for my child to be able to play the sport?
      • Is there equipment provided, is it in good shape and is it up to date?
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