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3 Responses so far.

  1. FABIAN AMOR says:

    This article and their comments don’t apply to WAG GYMNASTICS.
    There is lot of examples about elite gymnasts with an early specialisation that then reach elite level in other sports as well.

    • Dean Holden says:

      Fabian,

      If you re-read paragraph five, the author states, “(The possible exception would be a sport like girls gymnastics where athletic performance often peaks in the mid-teens.)”

      I agree with your statement that many elite gymnasts (who must specialize early due to the nature of their sport) can and do experience success in other sports later in their athletic life as gymnastics requires a strong base of athleticism! Gymnastics are an excellent arena in which to learn Fundamental Movement Skills and Physical Literacy.

      Without reading the Journal of Sport Sciences articles referred to by the author, one can only guess what sports were studied; however I believe the author was focussing on more traditional, school-based team sports that are understood to be of the late specialization variety according to the LTAD principles. Indeed, the author specifically refers to lacrosse, football, soccer and baseball played in college and professionally.

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.

      Cheers!

  2. Coach David says:

    I would argue that the observations and data reviewed to prove your hypothesis isn’t actually proving what you intended it to.

    The biggest problem with the data that’s being looked at is you’re comparing athletes who have are playing for example three sports to athletes that only played one. Unfortunately this in fact doesn’t have anything to do with specialization. Wha you should be comparing are athletes that played three sports vs athletes that dedicated that equivalent hours of three sports in one. Looking at that data you’ll come to a true conclusion of whether early youth specialization is beneficial or not.

    Simply looking at athletes a couple years ago when early sport specialization wasn’t an option due to a lack of programs ins’t going to give real answers. Of course 20 – 30 years ago the athlete who played three sports is better off than the one that only played one as the athlete that only played one only got one third the hours of athletic training.

    Now a days where sports are offering more and more year round training for youths it’s becoming more popular for athletes to dedicate to one sport. This isn’t parent’s choosing differently these days it’s just the fact they have an option that was not there 20+ years ago.

    The study I’d like to see are several identical twins raised with different athletic opportunities from the age of 5 to 18. One twin training in three sports and the other training the equivalent hours in one sport. This would take out as many other variables as possible as to give us the best chance in seeing results that could draw us to a definitive answer on this topic.

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