Early Specialization Can Lead to Drop Out of Sport

In recent years, there have been high levels of kids dropping out of sport at a young age. Research has shown that high pressures and early specialization can pose detrimental effects to children participating in sport. Being that early specialization is specific to one sport, those that have spent less time experimenting in different sports as children are expected to drop out before those who had some sort of diversification. With increased intensity and commitment, you will receive increased levels of stress and pressure from yourself and others to be successful.

Not only does the stress and pressure cause some individuals to drop out, but over the course of intense training for years at a time, the overuse of certain body parts can potentially force you to leave your respected game. This can be backed up by the case of Kiana Lalonde, who was on the road to be an exceptional basketball player until her career ended after a short four years of playing basketball at the University of British Columbia. Lalonde specialized in basketball at a young age and was forced to leave the sport due to a broken leg and four surgeries in a four year span.

Kiana Lalonde playing for Team B.C. before her injuries took over. (Kelowna Capital News)

The importance of early diversification should be reiterated to all parents to ensure they understand that their children will benefit from a more well rounded experience, than progressing in just one sport. Early specialization is not only hard on your emotional and physical health, but it limits the socialization factor of sports as well. Allowing your children to be enrolled in multiple sports can give them more life skills than any one sport can.

Camryn Halliday

Featured image: Connor Cose began to specialize in hockey at a young age, which led him to injury. (Source: CBC/Susan Cose)

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