The Downside to Sports SPECIALIZATION

Posted: September 8, 2010 in Sport Speed Development
Tags: , , ,

I’m often asked whether or not I think an athlete should specialize in one sport at an early age or how young is too young for an athlete to start thinking about specializing in a specific sport. I read an interesting article the other day in SportsEvent Magazine that I feel accurately addresses the issue of specialization and when is the appropriate time for any young athlete to consider it.

The article went on to say, as the number of youth sports related injuries continues to rise and the rate of burn out among teenage athletes increases, doctors of sports medicine and directors of sports organizations are urging parents and coaches to refrain from allowing kids to specialize in one sport or play one specific position until they reach high school age.

Doctor Paul Stricker, a specialist in pediatric and adolescent sports medicine at the Scripps Clinic for Sports Medicine in San Diego, said that he sees a connection between the increasing number of injured kids and the number of kids specializing in one sport earlier and earlier. He estimates that about 50% of all injuries he treats are “overuse” injuries. He went on to say, “Like general pediatricians who deal with kids in the ‘terrible twos,’ we deal with the ‘terrible toos’ – too much, too soon, too often.”

Above all, Stricker said, parents and coaches should educate themselves about the potential of injury related to specialization and overuse. They should always let kids know that their value and self worth are not predicated on the outcome of the game or athletic event.

For more information or to read the full article see.  And be sure to check out “InFlight” our new monthly eNewsletter!

From the Flight Deck
Coach Murdock
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