What I am sharing is based on my own experience with helping my two daughters pickup a sport and learn it in a competitive way. Here are a few important thoughts arount it:
- To start with, one important thing is that the earlier you start the better. I think 6-7 is the right age for your kid to start learning a sport in an organized way.
- I personally feel that kids themselves (especially at this age) are not a good candidate to answer which sports they want to be in. This must come from an adult, be it parents, uncle, or some well-wisher who has some sports experience. This doesn't mean the the kids preference should be totally ignored. Instead it should be aligned with what you see your kid excel in. For example, let's say that you always notice that your kid likes to run and is generally faster than others. This is an indication that he/she might be a good candidate for athletics training. Another subtle point is to understand how your kid behaves/performs in a team. For example, if he is generraly not fond of team plays but excels when competes alone, this might be an indication that sports like football/basketball where you need to work closely with a team will stress him out.
- Another very important point is the logistics involved in providing training to your kid. If your kid is very interested in athletics but there is no good academy near to where you live, then it will not work out. Even if you initially think that you can manage everyday commute to a slightly distant aacademy, it is generally a bad idea because invariably there will be disruptions in training. So, it is best to consider what's available near you and choose a sport from that. With the rise of PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal, badminton facilities and coaching centers have mashroomed all over the country. And the power of badminton cannot be underestimated.
PS: I started tennis coaching for my two daughters (12 and 8) a few months back. Now, the elder one likes tennis a lot and wants to continue while the younger one finds it physically demanding. She's seen me play badminton a couple of times and is talking about moving to Badminton. I got a chance to interact with a very senior badminton coach from Padukone academy. What he told me is that between Badminton and Tennis, Badminton is a better suited sport for our bodies and there is something about badminton that clicks well with us and we excel. He was in no way undermining tennis. We also talked about athletics (training for 100/200 meters sprints). Sadly he adviced against that because of the drug problems.