It has become much more common today for parents of aspiring athletes to seek private "lessons" (coaching), or join private sports clubs, to enhance their child's sports training.
Rather than debate the existence of an appropriate age for, or even the importance of, traveling this path, let's discuss the topic from a more objective standpoint. One where we consider the underlying purpose first, and then move forward to detail how best to go about such a task.
Initially, I would suggest you ask yourself this very important question: Why do you want to secure services to supplement training your young athlete might already be getting?
If your answer centers on getting your son or daughter a college scholarship, creating a National Champion or young Olympian, or even making them the star of their team, then it might be best to reconsider this option.
These types of goals need to come from your children themselves, and, in most cases, at later stages of their sports careers. In addition, it is very important to keep in mind that only a very small percentage of athletes (out of the significant number who participate in sports) will ever reach a level high enough to garner a college scholarship, approximately 2%, and an even smaller percentage will gain National Champion and/or Olympic status. The odds for the latter are minute.
However, if you are looking to give your children an opportunity to learn solid fundamentals, develop good overall coordination, balance, and agility (along with other physical skills that expand their range of abilities), and you believe that this extra training will enhance their chances of developing a "love of the game" or love of sports participation in general, then a performance enhancement professional (private coach), and/or club environment, might be a good option.
These are all justifiable reasons that tend to lean toward the intrinsic value of sports participation, rather than the opposite. Reasons, when kept in the forefront of your mind, keep your decision-making much more grounded.
Whether from a knowledgeable expert, or fundamentally sound club program, the contributions received from qualified personnel like this can be immeasurable. However, the key to making a good decision will be in knowing exactly what to look for.
In Part II - Private Coaching and Private Club Sports: What Parents Need to Know, I will cover specific guidelines that enhance your chances of making a sound decision on selecting the best club or private coach for your aspiring young athlete.