Youth Sports: 5 Reasons Why Kids Should Not Specialize

By RonUsher | Uncategorized

Jan 20

A lot of coaches and parents disagree with me on this, but after spending over 30 years in the trenches, working with thousands of kids, I think that specializing in one sport for anyone under the age of 17 is a big mistake. Here are my top five reasons.

  1. Limits opportunities for success in other sports.
    Because kids develop at different rates and times, no one knows what type of athlete or build they will have as the mature. If they specialize they may never find the one sport which they truly love and suits their body type and personality.
  2. 95% of athletes don’t go on to play elite level sports.
    Let’s face it…most of us don’t go on to play very high level sports as an amateur or professional. By playing different sports, kids will grow up to be well rounded adult athletes, able to participate and enjoy many activities throughout their lives.
  3. Reduce risk of injuries.
    Early specialization leads to overuse injuries. By playing and participating in many sports, kids develop their entire body and muscular/skeletal system.
  4. Skills learned in one sport transfer to another.
    The concepts and skills from one sport transfer to another. The skills of defense of basketball help build the ones of soccer.
  5. Puts emphasis on fun, fitness and friends.
    My belief is that kids should play sports for fun, fitness, and friends. Typically, early specialization puts the emphasis on winning, scholarships, and money. Nothing is wrong with these values, but they shouldn’t override lifelong benefits of sports.

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