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International Journal of Physical Education, Sports and Health
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P-ISSN: 2394-1685 | E-ISSN: 2394-1693 | CODEN: IJPEJB

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"International Journal of Physical Education, Sports and Health"

2021, Vol. 8, Issue 3, Part A

The effects of early sport specialization (ESS) on youth sports: Benefits and issues

Author(s): Benjamin R Jones and Seung Ho Chang

Abstract: Early sport specialization (ESS) refers to intense, year-round training and competition in a single sport at the exclusion of others. In recent years, the phenomenon of ESS has become more common within youth sport, in part due to a belief that ESS will lead to greater achievement in a specific sport. However, for sports in which the age of peak performance occurs during adulthood, such as all the major American team sports, evidence suggests that ESS is not a requirement to reach elite status. Additionally, ESS may be related to higher risks of burnout and overuse injuries in children due to the increased amounts of deliberate practice and repetitive stress children are exposed to. The risk of injury to an athlete that specializes early may also persist later into that individual’s athletic career. Early sport sampling is an alternative strategy to ESS in which children are encouraged to sample a wider number of sports, and it may be a more developmentally appropriate approach. Furthermore, early sport sampling may lead to greater enjoyment of physical activity and engagement in sport later in life. More research is needed on the topic of ESS and the growing trend in youth sport; however, current evidence suggests that the risks of ESS do not exceed the benefits. Therefore, the purpose of this paper was to review the effects of ESS on youth sports and discuss ways to avoid the negative effects on the physical and psychosocial development of children.

Pages: 14-18  |  153 Views  19 Downloads

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How to cite this article:
Benjamin R Jones, Seung Ho Chang. The effects of early sport specialization (ESS) on youth sports: Benefits and issues. Int J Phys Educ Sports Health 2021;8(3):14-18.
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