NEW STUDY: "Success at the High School, Collegiate and Professional Levels Not Necessarily Related to Early Sports Specialization"


#1

Our study, which is the largest study to date examining the topic of single sports specialization, provides a foundation for understanding current trends in specialization in youth sports. Our results noted that current high school athletes specialized, on average, two years earlier than current collegiate and professional athletes. The results of our study suggest that specialization at a very young age does not increase the likelihood of an athlete achieving elite status within his/her sport. The age of single sport specialization significantly differed between groups and occurred at an average age of 12.7 ± 2.4 for high school, 14.8 ± 2.5 for collegiate and 14.1 ± 2.8 for professional athletes.

http://www.sportsmed.org/AOSSMIMIS/Members/About/Press_Releases/AM2017SundayA.aspx

That’s fascinating. Athletes who reach elite status - playing at the college or professional levels - started specializing in their sport, on average, two years later than those athletes who reach only the high school level.


#2

I think most people will tell you that muti sports athletes end up succeeding more than athletes that just play one sport.


#3

My guess is it’s a pretty simple explanation. Professional baseball players are good athletes. God given ability makes many of them better than their peers at multiple sports, not just baseball.


#4

The sample population of studies such as this one is skewed by the mix. In no instance are ages and abilities matched by capabilities. Those youngsters that specialize in studies like this, do so with a mix of intention - theirs and those intentions impressed by others - fathers, uncles, mothers, etc. To suggest that those that specialize are with abilities par across the board is the basis for the study(s) itself.

What even skews the analysis even more is… " study suggest that specialization at a very young age does not increase the likelihood of an athlete achieving elite status within his/her sport" This quote guarantees the outcome FOR the study, not basing a foundation of the study itself.

Regardless of the age, the term specialization has flaws all it’s own. Specialization suggests that coaching, training and follow through, playing environments and such are consistent and with some sort of validity. As we have read, witnessed and experienced - nothing could be from the truth.

Studies concerning youth athletics has its own built in agenda that suits the author(s), a high percentage of the time. These :findings" mirror the claims of “… increase your velocity by 50% and so on,.” for every reader, regardless.

Nothing of a generic or homogenous nature fills the cup of “finds” concerning youth athletics. Nothing. A better study would be to define by age, physical build, social, economic, and puberty range, the entry and progress of sport specific specialized program - what program, by playing position.

This tries to cover some of what I’m suggesting, by leaves more questions than answers.
The age of single sport specialization significantly differed between groups and occurred at an average age of 12.7 ± 2.4 for high school, 14.8 ± 2.5 for collegiate and 14.1 ± 2.8 for professional athletes.


#5

Most pro athletes were muti sports athletes. Lots of Tight Ends in the NFL like Antiono Gates and Tony Gonalzez, for example, were basketball players in college. Lebron James coming out of high school had football scholarships as Wide Receiver. My point is, it is a mix of genetics, athleticism, and talent. You have to give these guys in the pros credit because while we don’t think about, they would have been pros in different sports if they had taken different paths.


#6

WiseGuy
Absolutely.


#7

[quote=“WiseGuy, post:2, topic:20678, full:true”]
I think most people will tell you that muti sports athletes end up succeeding more than athletes that just play one sport.[/quote]
I’m not so sure most people will say that today, at least the people in youth sports. Many coaches and parents in youth sports push year round play in one sport, whether it is soccer, baseball, volleyball, or basketball, on the pretense that it is necessary to reach elite levels (college, professional). I laugh, thinking of baseball greats like Tom Glavin and Mariano Rivera, who in their youth actually spent more time in sports other than baseball: hockey (Glavin) and soccer (Rivera). Glavin in fact played so much hockey in his youth that out of high school he was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League!


#8

These are not professional opinions, so be careful assigning too much merit to them. Developing a wider array of athletic skills enhances all other athletic skills because it improves overall coordination through a wider range of mechanical actions. The body is more finely tuned overall. To me, it’s crystal clear.


#9

[quote=“CoachPaul, post:8, topic:20678”]
These are not professional opinions, so be careful assigning too much merit to them. Developing a wider array of athletic skills enhances all other athletic skills because it improves overall coordination through a wider range of mechanical actions. The body is more finely tuned overall. To me, it’s crystal clear.[/quote]

I actually know a former MiLB manager who in the past advocated pretty much year round baseball (@11 months), until, that is, his son had arm surgery at 12. Yes, 12. In any event, I don’t give any credence to these guys at all, whether they are dads, high school coaches, or formed MiLB managers. As I wrote in my OP: “I laugh, thinking of baseball greats like Tom Glavin and Mariano Rivera, who in their youth actually spent more time in sports other than baseball: hockey (Glavin) and soccer (Rivera).”


#10

Dee Gordon is always a good example to me. In high school, Dee Gordon never really liked baseball because he thought it looked boring and there weren’t girls at the games. He preferred football and basketball. Now, look at him today though, pro baseball player who loves the game. I think kids should play multiple sports to improve this athletism and to be in better shape and they might even find something they didn’t even realize they love.

Also to respond to south_paw, maybe it is the area I am growing up in but where I live right now, adults and coaches (especially at the school sports teams) they push for kids playing multiple sports.