Sport specialization the brief, but telling conclusion…
The study’s findings are relatively convincing. The elite group tended to devote far less time at earlier ages in sport-specific training.
Additionally, early Sport Specialization was found to be a likely predictor of classification as a near-elite athlete.
In other words, while the early sport specialization may have been beneficial to overall performance, the athletes who tended to excel the most had instead focused on multilateral athletic development early in their growth and avoided the high technical skill, intensity, and specificity of unique sport preparation until such foundational skills were well established.
The IYCA has championed the notion that the long-term athletic development model, or LTAD, provides the greatest benefit to a developing athlete, in both physical and psychological aspects, over time.
Contrary to ever-popular and growing model of early sport specialization, the LTAD model is intended to optimize performance slowly and equip the young athlete with foundational skills.
Although far from “new,” in light of heavily marketed programs intended to maximize immediate potential sport specific gains, the commonsense simplicity of the LTAD model is starting to gain momentum with some practitioners.