Title of Abstract

Examining the Effects of Early Sport Specialization in Youth Sports

Submitting Student(s)

Tavia Sartor

Session Title

Health and Wellness 1

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Janet Wojcik, Ph.D.

College

College of Education

Department

Physical Education, Sport & Human Performance

Abstract

Early sport specialization, otherwise known as ESS, can be described as intense training in a specialized sport younger than 12 years of age. Children focus on one sport, specifically in a competitive manner and usually never change sports. We see this in Olympic athletes, for example, who were good in their field as a child and their parents made them stay with that sport. While early specialization in youth sports can provide children with the tools necessary to strive, it can also hinder them in other areas. Children may develop anger and aggression issues. It may also impact their mental health overall. Many parents and professionals tend to overlook the risks that come with early specialization because they want the children to be the best or play professionally. Intense competition teaches children to view everything as a challenge which can cause them to act out against their peers. Children may learn how to work as a team, but at the same time may feel immense pressure to be the best. They are also at risk for severe childhood injuries. This presentation will examine and discuss the effects, good and bad, of early specialization in a variety of youth sports.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Examining the Effects of Early Sport Specialization in Youth Sports

Early sport specialization, otherwise known as ESS, can be described as intense training in a specialized sport younger than 12 years of age. Children focus on one sport, specifically in a competitive manner and usually never change sports. We see this in Olympic athletes, for example, who were good in their field as a child and their parents made them stay with that sport. While early specialization in youth sports can provide children with the tools necessary to strive, it can also hinder them in other areas. Children may develop anger and aggression issues. It may also impact their mental health overall. Many parents and professionals tend to overlook the risks that come with early specialization because they want the children to be the best or play professionally. Intense competition teaches children to view everything as a challenge which can cause them to act out against their peers. Children may learn how to work as a team, but at the same time may feel immense pressure to be the best. They are also at risk for severe childhood injuries. This presentation will examine and discuss the effects, good and bad, of early specialization in a variety of youth sports.