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The Common Myth: Sport Specialization Will Make My Kid The Best

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Dan Gould, a PCA National Advisory Board Member and Director of Michigan State’s Institute for the Study of Youth Sports, is renowned for his work in sport psychology and mental training for athletic competition. He conducts research on the psychological foundations of coaching and has consulted for the U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Tennis Association, and athletes of all ages and skill levels.

In this video clip, Gould addresses the increasingly relevant topic of early sport specialization for young athletes. Although it may be important for elite athletes to specialize later, at younger ages it is better to get a broader base.

Research shows that most elite athletes did multiple sports when they were younger and that this comprehensive base was instrumental to their success in a specific sport later on. It can be beneficial for an athlete to specialize at 14 or 15, Gould says, but parents feeling pressure from coaches for their kid to specialize at 6 or 7 should remember the benefits of participating in multiple sports at an early age.