Friday, November 13, 2009
Here's more evidence that kids who specialize in a single sport at an early age are (1) terrific players (2) prone to injury and (3) because of point two at great risk of never reaching their potential.
Loyola University Health System recently released a study of 519 kids whose one and only sport is tennis. These are talented, promising junior players aspiring to big things in the sport. The study followed these kids through more than 3,000 competitive matches, finding that they dropped out of events at a much higher rate than non-specialists, often due to injury.
The kids in the study began playing tennis at an average age of 6, began competing at age 9 and began to specialize at age 10. They practiced a median of 16 to 20 hours per week, and 93 percent said they competed at least ten months per year. The study's authors counsel parents not to follow this example.