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.
Prior to my arrival, if you watched the Novice Teams (8 – 11 years old) go through their conditioning regime and then you watched the Senior Team (16 – 18) right after, you’d have trouble distinguishing the difference.