Healthy Perspective by Ed Rumick

Should your 3 to 5 year old children be involved in athletic activities?

Did you know that there is a great window of opportunity to optimize your child's coordination and motor skills development between the ages of 3 to 5?

In my 20 plus years of working with children, I have seen many varying levels of coordination in children.  Everything from kids you can tell will be successful high level athletes to.....well let's be frank, kids that are well below what would be considered average coordination and athletic ability.

I have seen all levels of coordination be able to improve with training, but the biggest improvements come to children I have seen start training between the ages of 3 and 5.  You may be saying to yourself "Of course they make the biggest improvements; they are just learning how to do many of the activities and skills." The improvements I'm talking about are not the improvements you see in the first year or two, even if they are great.  I'm talking about a few years later when these children are now 7, 8 and 9.  Their coordination, agility and reaction far exceed other children of their age in all sports and athletic activities.

Many of the children that I have been able to work with at the young age of 3 to 5 have gone on to be the "star" player in various other sports such as: soccer, football and basketball.  Kids that have been invited to play up an age group, invited to travel teams and invited to play on the high school team while still in middle school.

It's also my opinion that just physical activity is not enough for your 3 to 5 year olds to make these types of gains and improvements.  It must be structured and done with a purpose....also fun.  In addition to learning specific techniques and movements, the children must also be given activities that implement those skills with an understanding of timing and distance.  When they do these activities I also make it a point to tell them that they are working on timing and distance so that they understand that a skill must be done at the right time and place to be successful, otherwise it won't work.

The other important concept I relay to 3 to 5 year olds is reaction.  When I talk about quick reactions with the children, I often ask the question "What does this teach?"  The children give the answer "Quick Reactions" I then give them this basic definition "Quick reaction is how fast we can see and hear what's going on, decide what to do and do it."  All parts must happen quickly or what you need to do athletically won't be in time.  I have various ways to demonstrate this with them and do at that time.  I then ask them "What part of their body gets faster when we work on quick reactions?" The children answer "Our Brain". That is the correct answer, they are in fact learning how to process information quicker AND act upon it.  This is an important skill that relates to aspects of life, not just athletics.

One other thing that's key; children should be trained to do athletic activities on both sides of their body.  Too much specialization in 1 sided sports such as baseball and golf that involve throwing or hitting from only one side can develop strength and flexibility imbalances that could increase your child's chance of injury down the road. - Ed Rumick

If you are interested in giving your child these skills for life, The Tigers Karate Program at The Solebury Club is for you. KARATE teaches all of developmental skills mentioned above and movements are performed on both sides of the body.  Getting your children involved during their early formative years will enhance their gross motor skills, while also building their self-confidence and improving their focus. Research shows that preschoolers should be given a wide variety of movement experiences that require coordinating body movements with visual and verbal information.

We invite you to learn more about the benefits of Karate at the Solebury Club with a free week pass to give your child the opportunity to experience our internationally recognized program.

To take advantage of a free Karate pass contact Kristina at 215-794-3494 or email at

About the Author: Ed Rumick is the Karate Program Director at The Solebury Club. He is a licensed Instructor and Examiner with the AJKA-I an international karate organization. He currently holds the rank of Yon Dan (4th degree black belt) and has more than 20 years experience teaching karate.

About the Program: Solebury Club Karate  is dedicated to developing healthy bodies, sound minds, and self-esteem, balanced with a deep respect for others. We offer a Tigers Karate program for 4-5 year olds, which emphasizes the nurturing of a well-rounded individual, at home, in school, and in the dojo. We directly support the growth of each student through a variety of classes, progressive challenges, individualized instruction, and opportunities to compete and interact with other martial arts students. We believe in praise, encouragement, and positive reinforcement. We teach students the value of setting goals and working to meet them.

The Solebury Club serves: Doylestown, PA, Buckingham, PA, New Hope, PA, Furlong, PA, Jamison, PA and the surrounding areas.

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