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Early specialization in youth athletes Early specialization in youth athletes Presentation Transcript

    • Early Specialization
    • in Youth Athletes
      Taisuke Kinugasa, PhD Sports Physiologist Singapore Sports School SMAS Annual Symposium @ 28 Feb 2009
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  • Today’s Topics What is early specialization? Pros and cons of early specialization What is long-term athlete development? Recommendations
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  • Which Way to the Top? Team sports (eg baseball) and endurance sports (eg marathon) A rtistic sports (eg gymnastics, diving, figure skating) If you comprehensively and systematically trained, your career as an athlete would be longer If you specialized early, you succeed early Early diversification or LTAD Early specialization
  • It is defined as participation to a single sport with a deliberate focus on training and development in that sport Baker, 2003 What is Early Specialization ?
  • Pros and Cons of Early Specialization Wiersma, 2000; Hooper et al, 2006 Inappropriate weight control Disrupted social development Increased susceptibility of injury and illness Burnout More proficient at specific motor skills More training and competition experiences Early success (eg attained professional status and scholarship) Potential Risks Potential Benefits
  • Negative Consequences of Early Specialization Female Athlete Triad: disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis (IOC position stand, 2005) Social isolation (Tofler et al, 1996) Overuse injuries: shoulder tendonitis in swimmers, stress fractures in runners (Striker, 2002) Youth sports injuries: Osgood-Schlatter disease, Sever’s disease, Little League Elbow, and Patellar Femoral Pain Syndrome (Adirim and Cheng, 2003) Dropout: lack of fun or enjoyment (Butcher et al, 2002) and over-involvement of parents (Wiersma, 2000) Lack of general motor skills: potentially limits overall motor skill development (Wiersma, 2000) Inappropriate weight control Disrupted social development Increased susceptibility of injury and illness Burnout Negative Consequences Potential Risks
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  • Health and welfare of youth athletes needs to be taken care of
  • Interventions Mediation and rationalization by coaches of athletes’ commitments Comprehensive monitoring of training and competition schedules by sports scientists Education from sports psychologists in identifying early warning signs of distress and how to deal with it and assistance in balancing study, sport, and other commitments Mentoring from elite athlete role models Education for parents to help them better play their important role in positively supporting youth athletes Hooper et al, 2006
  • 2 Key Evidences
    • Early specialization is not essential for high performance
      • - Modern elite athletes experienced a wide range of sports before specializing during mid to late adolescence (Cote, 1999)
      • Non-specific training is beneficial for creating tactics in team sports athletes (Memmert and Roth, 2007)
    • Athletes who had played multiple sports are not disadvantaged compared to athletes who specialized early
      • - Fun and play-like activities during early stages of training are beneficial for skill development leading to longer involvement in sports (Cote, 2003)
      • - After age of 16, elite athletes dramatically increased their commitment to training (Baker et al, 2003)
  • Two Youth Development Models Team sports (eg baseball) and endurance sports (eg marathon) A rtistic sports (eg gymnastics, diving, figure skating) If you comprehensively and systematically trained, your career as an athlete would be longer If you specialized early, you succeed early Early diversification or LTAD Early specialization
  • The 10-Year Rule Bloom, 1985; Ericsson et al, 1993 R esearch ers ha ve concluded that it takes 8 to 12 years of training for a talented athlete to reach high performance
  • LTAD is a training, competition, and recovery framework Although the concept is well-established, there is a lack of empirical data to support the concept What is Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) ? Balyi et al, 2005
  • The Big Picture of LTAD Talent Identification and Search Talent Development and Transfer High Performance Sports Participation Athletes career support YOG Olympics
  • Tai’s LTAD Model
  • Biological Approach for Training Golden Age Later childhood Early adolescence Late adolescence Neural Coordination Speed Endurance Skill analysis PHV Field tests Training 0 100 (%) General Brain plasticity Strength Sports science support Power
  • Recommendations Ultimately it is children’s choice to participate in sports based on their abilities and interests Early specialization has potential benefits and risks leading to negative consequences Parents and coaches should be more active to lead a child who is matured enough to specialize in a given sport Coaches, parents, sports scientists and doctors, administrators, and media who are working with youth should understand the concept of long-term athlete development (LTAD) Close monitoring of growth and development, and nutrition by sports scientists is beneficial
  • … Empowering Athletes Enhancing Performance Think Globally Act Locally [email_address]