5 Fun Sports for Kids With Motor Skills Issues

By Erica Patino

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Issues with motor skills can make team sports a challenge. But if your child struggles with balance, coordination and other aspects of movement, he can still enjoy playing sports.

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Young boy with goggles swimming laps in a pool
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Not only is swimming fun, it doesn’t require some of the gross or fine motor skills some other sports do. Plus, it can actually help with movement issues. Swimming helps develop muscle tone, coordination and balance. Research shows that it may also improve speech. Another benefit: Because it’s an individual sport, your child can improve at his own speed.

Young children in a karate class
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Martial Arts

Martial arts may be challenging for kids with gross motor issues at first. But karate, tae kwon do and judo are taught in a very slow and structured way. Kids build skills gradually, and as they reach new skill levels, they’re awarded a different color belt to reflect their success. That can be a huge confidence boost!

Young girl running on the track with her coach timing her
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Track and Field

Running track might not seem like a logical choice for kids who have trouble with motor skills. But while track may be challenging, it’s also a skill booster for kids with movement issues. There’s no real time pressure, either. While there are team events, track is more an individual sport. Kids can improve at their own pace.

Close up of young soccer players setting up for a goal with coach looking on
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If your child really wants to try team sports, soccer might be one of the best options. Kids with motor skills issues might do well playing defense. Defensive players have a little more time to plan their movements. And their role isn’t so focused on running, kicking and scoring. If they’re able to block the shot, make a tackle or kick the ball out of danger, they’ve done their job.

Close up of teen girl fencing
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Fencing uses a unique mix of movement skills. It requires fine motor skills for handling the foil (the fencing sword), and gross motor skills for learning footwork and moving quickly. In beginning fencing classes, kids work on balance and coordination. They also focus on developing concentration and strategy. And they continue to build skills from there.

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5 Fun Sports for Kids With Listening Comprehension Issues

Kids with listening comprehension issues may have trouble understanding what coaches or teammates are saying. But there are many sports that don’t require much coaching or listening. Here are some good options to consider.

5 Fun Sports for Kids With Social Skills Issues

Kids with social challenges may not enjoy sports with a lot of team interaction. That doesn’t mean they can’t participate in athletics. Many sports have little social pressure but still let kids build social skills.

About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Elizabeth Harstad

Elizabeth Harstad, M.D., M.P.H., is a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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