Early sport specialization is a concept that presents coaches, athletes, parents, sport administrators, and health professionals with a myriad of problems.
Early sport specialization can be defined as:
- “Children who limits participation to a single sport on a year-round basis with a deliberate focus on training and development in that sport” (Wiersma, 2000);
- “All athletes limiting their athletic participation to one sport on which they practice, train, and compete throughout the entire year” (Hill, 1993);
Research indicates that:
- 98% of young athletes will never reach the elite level status;
- Due to physical, emotional, cognitive, and psychological factors natural talent does not transition from youth to adult performance;
- 70% of children are dropping out of organized sport by age 13;
- There is a 32-46% increase rate of athletic injuries;
There is a wealth of evidence that supports the concept of early sport specialization. It is essential that coaches, athletes, parents, sport administrators, and health professionals, consider the adverse effects. The risks have been characterized as harmful to youth. Fostering positive youth sport experiences and focusing on the fundamentals will widely benefit our future generation!
- As BRSS Student about to graduate, how do you educate stakeholders in the sport industry about the downsides of early sport specialization?
- Have you experienced burnout?
Watch the full documentary of Little Big Dream – Mind blowing!