Early Specialization is not good. I’ve said it and I’ll keep saying it. Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Soccer, Baseball, and Volleyball players need to play more than one sport especially when they are under the age of 15-16. In Pittsburgh, we love to play hockey year round. I guess that’s why we’ve produced 2 NHL players with careers– RJ Umberger and Ryan Malone. I hope that you are picking up on my sarcasm.
This was taken from Mike Boyle’s blog. He’s an expert in preparing athletes, especially ice hockey players in the Boston area…. Enjoy.
I was looking at Stack Magazine the other day and came across these gems. Stack interviewed three of the most successful coaches in the country UVA’s Men’s Lacrosse Coach, Dom Starsia, USC’s Pete Carroll and Univ of Florida Track Coach Bob Branum on the subject of early specialization. All three advocated playing multiple sports or doing multiple events.
Starsia said ” for young guys,- especially those seventh, eight, ninth and tenth graders- it’s a little too early to decide that you are going to a football player or, that you are going to be a full time lacrosse player.”
” Probably 95% of the time our kids ( at UVA) are multi- sport athletes. It’s a bit strange to me if somebody is not playing other sports in high school.”
Carroll echoes the same sentiments. “The first question I ask about a kid is what other sports does he play?… I really, really, don’t favor kids having to specialize in one sport.”
Even in track Braman says “versatility becomes more important when on the men’s side I’m looking at twelve scholarships and I’m trying to divide them up”
I know I keep harping on the same subject but, parents need to know that good coaches don’t favor early specialization. If your son or daughter has a coach that is trying to convince them to play one sport prior to high school , take a look and see how that coach earns their money. I’ll bet 90% of the time it’s from that sport.
Bottom line, the best coaches in the country advocate playing multiple sports until at least high school.