"You've got to specialize if you want to be special." You may have heard similar sentiments before. However, a growing amount of research is finding that specializing in a single sport too early may be one of the worst decisions a young athlete can make.
A new study presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's annual meeting found that specialization does not appear to increase a youth athlete's chance of eventually achieving elite status in their sport. In fact, the opposite may be true.
"Our study, which is the largest study to date examining the topic of single sports specialization, provides a foundation
for understanding current trends in
specialization in youth sports," said Patrick S.
Buckley, MD...in a press release. "Our results noted that current high school athletes specialized, on average, two years earlier than current collegiate and professional athletes. 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."