Specialization in early ages is a serious and relevant problem in high school and youth sports due to several reasons. I believe that athletes in young ages should develop different physical skills by participating in various activities and different sports in order to build up the basis for future improvement. The limited range of skills performed during early sport specialization has the potential to limit overall motor skill development. This may affect long term physical activity involvement by decreasing the likelihood of participation in alternative physical activities. In addition, I believe that specialization in youth sport can cause an athlete to burn out at an early age. For example, if a runner is doing a lot of heavy weight lifting too early in his career it can negatively affect his performance on the long term. The athlete will have physical pain and injuries later on because of the excessive forms of training. Finally I believe that early specialization can cause massive drop out of sport because of lack of enjoyment and socialization. Repetitive, monotone and hard practices in early age do not attract youth athletes. Due to the above listed negative consequences of early age specialization, coaches should let young athletes participate in various sports, and focus on creating a fun environment for all kids.
Miklos Szebeny, ND 2011
Social Foundations of Coaching