Youth Sports Specialization
The IYCA Blog has been jumping of late with some great training-based conversation.
I wanted you to read an exchange I had with a reader named Keith.
It was in reference to my article on Early youth sports Specialization a few days ago.
Keith offered some great insight and thought. Here’s what he had to say –
"So, playing devil’s advocate once again, why is it that the world’s greatest swimmers have typically been identified when they were preteen, often then,setting world records and competing in world class events as mere teenagers, especially the ladies.
How many world and Olympic champion gymnasts and divers average 14 years of age. I wonder if plasticity really means that a child athlete can adapt to, cope with, respond to, recover from, progress with, focus on and develop with, all of the things in one particular sport, and become superior in that sport, without participating in other sports. Doing so like the 5 year old Italian child learns English perfectly by being immersed in that one thing.
I know I’m talking about world class athletes but they had to come from somewhere and mostly they were young athletes with a gift through which they were unilaterally developed within their one sport.
While I myself have participated in many sports and have coached many sports and I believe in multilateral exposure especially as a means of talent identification, I still need convincing that the multilateral approach is necessary or preferable to develop high level athletes in a given sport.
Still liked the article Brian. It keeps the wheels oiled in this old noggin. Keep them coming!"
Here was my response –