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Earlier today I came across one of the best written articles on the importance not specializing in one sport that I’ve ever read, with nearly all of it backed really solid data, courtesy of the Changing The Game Project.

The article talks at length about kids in particular specializing in a single sport and the dangers of it and goes on to lay out a number of outstanding points, many of which are backed by great analysis including these five reasons.

Below is a screen shot of those five reasons from the original article.

FiveReasonsToNotSpecialize

The piece also touches on how a child’s time should be split among sports as they grow up, which many parents and coaches will find absolutely fascinating.

  • Prior to age 12: 80% of time should be spent in deliberate play and in sports OTHER THAN the chosen sport!
  • Age 13-15: 50/50 split between a chosen sport and other athletic pursuits
  • Age 16+: Even when specialization becomes very important, 20% of training time should still be in the non-specialized sport and deliberate play.

The article goes on to point out six research based reasons behind multi-sport participation which include how most college athletes have a multi-sport background, and smarter and more creative players.

Head here to read the entire article. which was originally posted in early 2014. While some of the numbers may have changed slightly in the past two years, many of the facts and sentiments in the piece still ring true today.