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Parenting Elite Athletes

Specializing In Single Sport, Early Travel Team Play: Not In The Best Interest Of Children

The growth of early travel teams and specialization in single sport is not in the best interests of children.

Early Sport Specialization Can Lead to Burnout

An athlete who specializes early or plays on an ultra-competitive select team is at increased risk of burnout or withdrawal from sport as a result of chronic stress or burnout.

Overuse Injury Epidemic Result Of Year-Round Play, Too Many Teams At Same Time

Early specialization and playing on a select or travel team take their toll on a child's growing bones, joints, and muscles. Prior to high school, most children are simply not physically mature enough to handle the stress that playing a single sport on a year-round or nearly year-round basis places on their bodies.

Specializing in Single Sport, Early Travel Team Play Hurt Athletic Development

One of the reasons often cited for early specialization in a single sport is that it promotes the development of the skills a player is going to need to be a successful athlete as a high school player and beyond. The problem is that the emphasis of select teams on winning games and tournaments (the myth that "the more we win, the better we are") may actually deter your child's athletic development.

Early Specialization/Travel Team Play Separates The Haves And The Have Nots

One of the worst by-products of the select (travel) youth sports team system is that it fosters elitism by creating groups of haves and have-nots, especially before sixth grade, when predicting whether an athlete will turn into elite high school or college athlete is almost impossible.

Early Sports Specialization No Guarantee of Future Athletic Success

One of the reasons often cited in favor of early specialization in a single sport is the myth that it increases the chances of athletic success. The fact is that there is no evidence that an athlete who plays one sport before the age of twelve or who participates in a select sports program will end up being a better athlete as a teen or adult and considerable evidence that precisely the opposite is true.

Early Specialization: Nine Reasons Why It Is a Bad Idea

The trend towards early specialization is fueled by  parents looking for an edge, the myth that more and earlier is better, and a belief that it is required for survival in today's hypercompetitive youth sports culture.

Two Athletes, Two Different Futures

Appearances Can Be Deceptive

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