As a kid in America the one thing I liked to do more than anything else at the time was to play sports. Playing sports taught me valuable life lessons and developed skills for my sport today. Unlike many kids today, however, I played multiple sports growing up, not one.
Sport specialization is becoming a problem for our youth now. Factors such as future pursuits, parents and injuries all play a role in why kids now are doing this. It is important to be well rounded and develop new skills while growing up so the body will not be succumb to specialization.
For example, take a young male, around 13 years old. He is only playing basketball. He does travel ball and playing for his school. When he gets to the high school he will be more susceptible to injury because of this specialization.
Specialization is not a bad thing. But the focus is on decreasing our youth’s risk of injury. That is why David Bell and other conducted a study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on how specialized young athletes are. The purpose of this study were “to help parents and young athletes better understand how to limit that risk.”
This is a new topic of discussion in the sports world. Young athletes should not be susceptible to injuries so young. I know when I was growing up I played at least three sports through my elementary years all the way to 10th grade in high school. Parents, let the kids have fun and do not specialized them yet. Wait until at least middle school, for their sake.