Ice Skating Training Facilities

Hosted by
San Diego Figure Skating Communications

Specialization in one Sport

Should an athlete specialize in a single sport or participate in multiple sports in different seasons?
      Some individuals enjoy participating in many different sports that require different skill levels. Usually an athlete will tend to spend more time participating in those sports that provide a good fit with their physical, mental, and emotional attributes.

      It is a rare individual who has some much natural talent that they could excel in more than one sport. Eventually a coach will suggest that they need to concentrate their time and  energy in pursuing one sport at a time if they wish to become a dominate factor in the sport.

      This involves a personal decision that usually involves considerable essternal pressure applied to any individual whose goal is to become a professional in their chosen sport.

      For others the financial constrains do not allow them to pursue their goal without an external source of funding that allows them to not be required a full-time job to support themselves and their training.

      Many parents and young athletes share the belief that pursuing an education should be the first consideration as many careers in performing sports activities can end quickly with a major accident.

      Over the last ten or fifteen years a dramatic development in youth sports has been the explosive growth at  ever-earlier ages. This has given rise to the increased numberx of highly selective, highly competitive sports teams know as elite, travel, select, premier and Olympic Development teams. This has been accompanied by the related trend toward the playing a single sport on a year-round basis to the exclusion to all others. The trend towards early specialization should be distinguished from starting early, 

      The cases of overtraining and excessive time commitment to one activity are disruptive to the overall development in young athletes less than 15 years old and is lacking the information and experience to make informed decisions about life-influencing priorities.

      Positive physical, mental, and emotional development is most likely to occur when young athletes have diverse opportunities to explore and develop a range of psychological and social abilities across multiple
academic activities and sports:

Recommended Reading:

DOC   Specialization in Sport: How early? Sport specialization, or the exclusive participation in one sport by young athletes.

PDF Guidelines for Participation in Youth Sport Programs   Specializing in a single organized, competitive sport at an early age is a controversial issue. For young people under age 15, year-round specialization in a single sport is more often associated with developmental risks than rewards. Positive physical, psychological and social development is most likely to occur when young people participate in multiple sports and informal physical activities throughout childhood and early adolescence.

Seven Reasons Against Specializing In A Single Sport Early specialization and travel team play: seven reasons why they are bad for kids.

Specializing in a Sport Hurts Children  June 15, 2010 ... Feast or famine. That appears to be the unfortunate state we've reached with our kids' health, fitness and athletic participation.

The Science of Sport: Early vs Late Specialization:  April 6, 2011 ... But is there an optimal time to begin specialization in a particular sport? This is such a loaded question that I can't possibly answer it.  In many cases, specialization and training volume will be related - the more you focus/specialize, the more time you have for that sport.  For example, a 15-year old with 2 hours a day to train will train more for Sport A if they are specialized than if they split the 2 hours between Sport A and Sport B.  However, this is not always the case - the same 15-year old can be "diversified" and do both sports, but still do more training in each than the specialist if they sum their time - A + B might equal four hours a day, not necessarily two.


PDF Benefits of Multiple Sport Participation - Iowa  Improved health and wellness is Benefits of Participating in Multiple Sports. So, what are the benefits of being a multiple-sportone of the benefits.

The Art of Balance | Specialization and Youth Sports Athletes Hear perspectives from several youth sports celebrities. ... college recruiters, or even the athlete's own desire to participate in the highest levels of the sport. ... A study of highly accomplished individuals conducted by Benjamin Bloom.

Early Specialization: Seven Reasons Why It Is a Bad Idea Specializing in a single sport and early travel team play is not supported by facts. The trend towards early specialization (to be distinguished from starting early, which, for some sports, such as ice hockey, is important), and an increasingly professionalized approach to youth sports, appears to be driven more by folklore, myths and half-truths, a herd mentality, the ever-burgeoning youth sports industry, and by adults more intent on winning than acting in the best long-term interests of children, than actual, cold, hard evidence.

One-Sport Wonders: Should Your ChildSpecialize in a Single Sport?
"If a child is passionate about one sport, that's fine," says Ron Quinn, associate ... of adolescents are dropping multiple sports to specialize in a single sport. ... some kids who do mature late may discover it is a real obstacle to competing in some sports.

Kids who specialize in one sport may have higher injury risk
May 2, 2011 ... Competitive young athletes are under increasing pressure to play only one sport year round, but such specialization could increase the risk of serious injuries.

Seven Reasons Against Specializing In A Single Sport  Early specialization and travel team play: seven reasons why they are bad for kids.

The Science of Sport: Early vs Late Specialization: April 6, 2011 ... But is there an optimal time to begin specialization in a particular sport? This is such a loaded question that can't be answered without speculating.

The Temptation of Specializing in One Sport « Ask Coach Wolff March 18, 2012 ... It's a very natural assumption. Your youngster shows some real sign of athletic talent at a very early age, and a coach or perhaps a neighbor comments on their ability.


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Sports Specialization
PDF  High School Coaches Handbook
PDF   Schooling of Elite Skaters
Adult Recreation & Competitive Activities
Child Care Programs
Comparison of Athletes in Different Sports
Athlete Skill Progression
Retiree Mentoring Aspiring Athletes
The Elderhostel Experience
Prioritize an Athletes Education
PDF  Education & Athletes
Home Schooling in California
Orange County High School of the Arts
Tutoring - Information Transfer
Athlete Dormitory Facilities
Sports Specialization

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

Athlete Concerns     Collection of Related Ideas    Skating Articles    Related Topics      

Ice Skating Rink Index    Topic Index    Site Index   Home Page