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Early Specialization Versus Diversification in Youth Athletes

In recent decades the landscape of youth athletics has changed. Increased participation in competitive athletics has been seen over the past 50 years (National Federation of State High School Associations, 2016-2017).1 Another recent phenomenon is the increasing number of young athletes concentrating on a single sport, commonly referred to as early specialization. Early specialization is often sought out by these young athletes due to sensationalized, highly successful athletes who specialize early including Tiger Woods, Tara Lipinski, Venus and Serena Williams to name a few. Additional influences towards early specialization include parents, coaches, and peers whom often believe that sport specialization is needed to compete with other athletes at the highest level.