Early Specialization-Still Not Convinced?

Still not convinced? Here are some numbers:
-In 2012 The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia saw a 400% increase in ACL
ruptures then in 1999
-40 million kids play sports between the ages of 7-12. By the time they reach
13 more then 70% of them stopped playing due to injury or burnout.

It is estimated that 98% of athletes that specialize before 15 years of age
will never reach the highest level of their sport.

So the question arises at what age is it ok to specialize? Studies indicate that 15 for boys and 13 for girls are adequate ages in where their bodies will have more of an ability to tolerate the demands of specialization. They are more skeletally mature at this point as well as more psychologically mature. However, I would encourage your child to play a different sport each season because no one sport corner’s the market on fundamental movements that can translate to very specific portions of every sport specific action. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the results to change. Mix it up and you won’t believe the improvements you see.

  • Many coaches have said they prefer multi-sport athletes because they don’t burn out as easily, they are all-around better aesthetes because they pick up new skills with each sports, they work great in teams, and more. Specialization can lead to burn out and the last thing we want is for kids to quit sports so young.