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What are your opinions on early specialization? | Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Posted in: All other coaching children topics

What are your opinions on early specialization?

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  • Early Specialization is a topic that is often discussed amongst coaches. When browsing twitter earlier this week I came across this link from American youth sport, where a number of sporting bodies have teamed up to encourage children to play in a variety of sports. 

    What are your opinions on early specialization?

     

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-breheny-wallace/why-kids-shouldnt-specialize-in-one-sport_b_7972286.html

     · Rob Maaye and Rob Chapman like this.
     
  • It is interesting, some sports readily lend themselves to having the same players as they are summer and winter sports such as Football/Rugby in the winter and Cricket in the summer and I knew several people who played both.

    I know a Gymnast who's parents will be paying well over £100 a month for their child to do Gymnastics, Swimming and Football, so is it that the cost of sports makes it prohibitive?  This is not something that every parent can afford, especially if there is more than one child in the family or they are not well off or in a deprived area.

    As a Gymnastics Coach, I know that if children do more than one sport, they tend to be better overall, so when talent spotting this is something to take into consideration, however the Elite Pathway in Gymnastics starts Children competing at age 8/9, the percentage of children who for instance get to the National squad is very small and there are Clubs out there who will push gymnasts to train long hard hours to get to that level, this obviously doesn't allow for multi sport play or breaks as mentioned in the article.

    What do we think is the way forward? Mulit Sports for Grass Roots kids and Specialisation for Elite Pathways? Or should there be a defining age limt where one moves from Multi Sport into Specialisation?

    I personally don't know enough to say which is better, but as a Parent as well as a Coach, I want my kids to be happy, if that means they want to play Football, do Gym and go Swimming then that's great and I'll do my best to make it happen.

     
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