Having athletic children is proving to be more and more important as parents go to crazy lengths to ensure their kids will find athletic success. Family schedules are being filled up by sports practices and parents can even enroll their baby into sports training classes as well. Children are busy with activities filling up their after school time as well as their weekend while parents simply act as chauffeurs. Maybe parents are hoping their child gets a college scholarship or maybe they have dreams of their child going to the olympics. Regardless of the reason, there are many benefits for having an athletic child.
In 2012, more than one third of children were obese. That is more than double the rate of obese children since 1980. If a child is athletic, it ensures they will stay on the move and keep them healthy. Obesity can also lead to cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea, so it’s important to make sure a child exercises regularly. It can also instill healthy habits in a child that they can take with them when they get older.
Many parents ponder the key to success when it comes to raising athletic children. Will it help to put them in multiple sports or is it better to train year round in one sport? Is it beneficial for children to start early? Does it really matter what training they go through, or are certain children predisposed to being better athletes? What if there were a way to know whether a child will find athletic success? Well, maybe there is a way to know! This article will address 15 signs that the baby will grow into an athlete.
15 Leadership Abilities
If a child is demonstrating leadership skills early on, that could be a sign that they will be an athlete. There are many different signs that can let a parent know if their child has leadership skills. If a baby can easily make the tough call of choosing between the pink teether or the blue rattle, that can be a good indicator of leadership skills.
Every parent loves when their child plays well with other kids, and it’s also a great quality for leaders to possess. Do they take toys from other kids or are they willing to share? Another odd tell tale of leadership in a baby is if they like to dabble in a variety of activities. Do they only like to play with their blocks, or do they move from the blocks, to the ball, and then to another activity? This means that they will enjoy learning about diverse things.
14 Born In A Warm Climate
According to the Journal of Sports Medicine, climate can have a profound effect on kids’ athletic development. There is an extremely high number of professional athletes in the U.S. who come from California, Texas and Florida suggesting that warm weather benefits athletes. One reason is due to the child being able to play games and have outdoor practices year round. Children in warm climates basically have an advantage over those in colder climates. If a child grows up experiencing cold winter months, it can put a hold on all outdoor practicing and temporarily halt their athletic development.
The researchers also think it’s partially due to the fact that the mothers have greater exposure to Vitamin D while they are pregnant and when they deliver. Vitamin D is also thought to be a stimulus for bone and muscle growth which can greatly aid in future athletic success.
13 Tall Parents
Is it genes or the gym that create a great athlete? It seems like it’s a mixture of both. No one can take away all the hard effort, the hundreds of hours in the gym, or the time spent in the pool. But lets face it, it’s highly unlikely that someone will play in the NBA if they are 5’2”. And it’s not just basketball that has tall players. Let’s look at some statistics. In both the 2012 and the 2016 olympics, the average male swimmer was 6’2” and the average female swimmer was 5”9. The average NBA player is 6’7”, the average NHL player is 6’4”, and the average MLS and NFL player is 6’1”. All are taller than the average American male height of 5-foot-9. An easy way to calculate the height of a baby is by adding Mom's and Dad's heights, dividing that number by two, and adding 2.5 inches for boys or subtracting 2.5 inches for girls.
12 Hand-Eye Coordination
Hand-Eye Coordination is a very important skill for an athlete, or for any aspiring athlete. When babies are born, they have no eye-hand coordination. They don’t begin to correlate seeing and touching as a singular activity until they are over six months old. Even then, it takes a while longer for infants to realize they can use their hands to accomplish a certain task. In baseball you need hand-eye coordination to swing the bat and actually connect with the ball. In basketball you need hand-eye coordination to catch, pass, and shoot a basketball.
A baby demonstrates hand-eye coordination when they complete certain tasks. Does a baby follow an item along with their eyes? Will they transfer a toy from one hand to another. Do they realize early on that if they shake the keys it will make a noise? These are all great signs of hand-eye coordination.
11 No Fear Of Failure
A professional basketball player isn’t afraid to try that risky dunk, and an olympic gymnast isn’t afraid to try that difficult trick. There is a sense of fearlessness that accompanies most athletes. Before you teach babies anything, their own personality starts to come out. There are parts of them that can’t be taught. Some are sensitive, while others are tough. Some babies are cautious while other babies are fearless. If they are constantly jumping off of things and think they can fly, they might be a more adventurous baby.
A fearless baby might try to climb everything and isn't afraid they might fall. Some babies are quiet while other babies babble and try to talk without any fear of failure, just like that soccer player who isn’t afraid to make that great pass. Having no fear of failure might just be one sign that a baby will grow into an athlete.
10 Resilient Temperament
Does a baby fall down and get right back up and try again, or do they stay down and cry for help? Do they keep trying to reach for the toy even though it’s out of reach, or do they quit and move onto something new? If a baby doesn’t give up, that is a good sign of a resilient baby. Being resilient also happens to be a great trait for a successful athlete.
In athletics, there will be obstacles. If someone gets easily disappointed when they don’t make the shot and never tries again, they won’t make a very good athlete. An athlete is someone who will suffer an injury, recover from it, and get back at it again. They don’t just give up and quit. Being resilient is understanding that those obstacles won’t keep you from attaining your goals whether it’s landing that gymnastics move or getting your PR in swimming.
9 Quick Learner
Being a quick learner is a great attribute for any athlete. They can see the proper form for shooting a basketball and teach themselves to do it correctly. Someone can show them once how to throw a football and they are able to perfect the task quickly. If a baby shows signs of being a quick learner, that could be a good sign that they are on their way to growing into an athlete.
Does baby quickly understand that the puzzle piece fits into a certain puzzle slot? Maybe they rolled over once and quickly learned how to reciprocate that action? However, not being a quick learner doesn’t cut the baby out of the running for growing into an athlete. They might have to practice that pass a couple more times than others or they might need someone to show them the proper form multiple times, but they could still grow into a great athlete.
8 Body Type
There is no one body type fits all for sports, but it’s no secret that certain body types tend to do better at different sports. While it’s true that the average athlete in every sport but three (ski jumping, flyweight UFC fighting, and gymnastics) is taller than the average American male height of 5-foot-9, but height isn’t everything. Body type can also be a good sign if a baby will be good at a particular sport.
NFL nose tackles are the heaviest athletes while flyweight UFC fighters are the lightest. If a baby is small, they might want to stay away from nose tackle tryouts and look into UFC fighting instead. NBA centers are the tallest athletes while gymnasts are the shortest so a shorter baby might want to look toward gymnastics rather than basketball. Other body types include having a small frame or a large frame.
7 Competitive Nature
Obviously being competitive is great for athletes. This is one of the main reasons athletes set goals. They want to be bigger, faster, stronger, all in hopes of beating the next team or getting the fastest time. It drives them to perform at their highest level, and to learn as fast as possible. It also pushes them to take risks. But is being competitive good for a baby?
How can you tell if a baby is competitive? With babies, they might demonstrate their competitive streak by throwing a temper tantrum if they don’t get their way. They might shut down completely or talk back when they don’t like what you tell them. Babies show how competitive they are when they don’t get their way or are told something they don't like. While it might be difficult to handle a competitive baby, it’s actually a great trait to have and it’s a great sign they will grow into an athlete.
6 Sense Of Balance
Obviously there is no way to tell if a newborn has good balance or not. They basically just lay there all day. But once baby starts moving around on their own, it’s easy to tell if they are going to have good balance. How long does it take them to get up on their knees and stay there? When were they able to start pulling up on things? Did it take them a while to stand completely independently or did it come easily to them?
Balance is basically the ability to stay in control of your body movements, which is a very important skill for an athlete. Imagine a soccer player sprinting down the field while dribbling the ball. In order for him to stay in control of his body and move swiftly in between other players, he needs to have great balance. However, balance is something that can be practiced as a child gets older, so there no need to worry if a baby doesn’t have great balance at first.
5 Active Parents
Regardless of what sport it is, one commonality among all sports is that you must be active. Even sports that don’t require an inordinate amount of running or moving still demand that the athlete is in good shape. It also requires that they enjoy activity. If a baby has parents who are active or who are supportive and encourage their babies to be active, they are more likely to enjoy exercise.
Studies show that babies whose parents are highly supportive of exercise are more than six times more likely to be active. Early on, family ends up being a really important factor in kids’ activity levels. Once they start crawling they can be encouraged by being given freedom to play and explore. When they can finally walk and run, it’s important to let them be outside often and it’s even more vital to show them how important being active is.
4 All Around Good Coordination
If a baby is exceptionally coordinated, that could be a great sign that they will grow into an athlete. Coordination is a great skill for all athletes. Some might say it’s a necessary skill in order to be an athlete. A basketball player needs to be able to dribble the ball and run at the same time while also looking forward to their next pass. A gymnast needs all kinds of coordination to be able to pull off the tricks they do while being in the air half the time.
It’s possible that a baby could show coordination skills early on in their life. Signs of early coordination in a baby could be lifting their head early on, pushing up when they’re on their tummy, or bearing weight on their legs. Other signs are sitting up early on, pulling themselves up on furniture, or reaching for and grabbing a toy.
3 Demonstrates Independence
A certain extent of independence can be great, regardless of who you are or what you do. For an athlete, it’s even more important to be independent. Independence makes an athlete go out on their own and shoot free throws. They don’t need someone to hold their hand and tell them that it’s beneficial to practice. Independence in a baby can be great too, and it could be a sign that baby will grow into an athlete.
When a baby is born, they don’t think of themselves as an individual. They are completely dependent on their parents. When they can start exerting independence, they can show it many ways, for example, it can be shown in the form of differentiating themselves from mom or dad. When they start crawling or walking, independent babies will easily leave their parents’ watch to explore their surroundings. They are curious about what the world around them holds.
2 Long Legs
Long legs can be a sign that baby will grow into an athlete, and it’s not because they will be tall. Most people are born with shorter legs than torso. There aren’t as many people that have longer legs. If someone has longer legs, it makes them an excellent candidate for sports such as high jump, long jump, hurdles, or rowing. Longer legs mean a longer inseam. Those with longer legs don’t have to force their body as high because they just have to stretch their legs. When it seems as if a hurdler is barely jumping over the hurdles, it’s because they aren't. They are letting their inseam do all the work for them. There are a lot of skills it takes to be an athlete, and many of them can be learned. Unfortunately this isn’t one of those. Those born with long legs might be naturally better at certain sports than others.
1 Being Left Handed
While it’s impossible to tell if a baby is right or left handed as soon as they are born, it will soon be revealed once they start using their hands. A lot of babies switch back and forth between hands for a while, so it might not be evident at first. They might even be ambidextrous for the first little bit of their life. If baby happens to turn into a left hander, that could be a great sign that baby will become an athlete.
Only 12% of the people in the world are left handed. This means that athletes encounter left handed opponents less often and that they are not as used to playing against them. Their reactions will be slower against a left handed athlete which makes left handed athletes more valuable. Being left handed can be especially helpful in sports that involve one-on-one contact such as tennis, boxing, or baseball.