My daughter just turned 13 years old and has never expressed an interest in sports and physical activity, but because of her social circle, she is now interested in playing basketball and softball. I feel as though her fine motor skills are below average and I am wondering if this is a function of childhood inactivity. And, if so, can this be remedied with additional training?

Youth-oriented sports can be an especially positive experience for young women, so it is great that she has expressed an interest in being more physically active through sports. Survey’s reported by ACSM suggest that as children move into their adolescent and young adult years, physical activity levels decline strikingly and that only about 50% of American youths aged 12 to 21 are vigorously active on a regular basis, with girls more frequently becoming less active than boys as they grow older. Given those statistics, it is important that you offer praise, interest and encouragement to your daughter’s new interest. This is a time in your child’s life when habits are forming and the choices at this age are going to establish life patterns. Since your daughter has expressed an interest in these sports, it is important to foster that interest and encourage her to maintain the activity. If, after consulting with the coach, it is determined that additional training would benefit her, there are some choices to consider. I would suggest semi-private or group training sessions that would include team members that she is friends with to maintain the social environment that first attracted her to the sport. The National Academy of Sports Medicine certifies Performance Enhancement Specialists that deal with the specific aspects of several different sports for individuals of all levels. With proper training, deficiencies in fine motor skills can be improved upon.

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