Specialization might be the boogeyman many people believe it to be.
A recent report presented at the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine appears to have found specialization does not increase a young athlete’s chances to eventually reaching elite status in their sport.
The opposite might be true.
Previous studies have indicated specialization also increases the risk of injuries in young athletes.
The study came through a survey of almost 4,000 high school, college and professional athletes prior to their annual physicals.
“Our results noted that current high school athletes specialized, on average, two years earlier than current collegiate and professional athletes, Dr. Patrick S. Buckley of the Rothman Institute at Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University Hospital wrote.
“The results of our study suggest that specialization at a very young age does not increase the likelihood of an athlete achieving elite status within his/her sport.”
Among the numbers the study found were that high school athletes began to specialize in their sport at 12.7 years of age, while the average collegiate athlete began to specialize at 14.8 years old and professional athletes at 14.1 years of age.
The study’s authors noted that only one-quarter of the professional athletes who participated in the study would want their own children to specialize during childhood/adolescence.
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