Impact of Early Sport Specialization on Interscholastic Athletes and Programs
Early sport specialization (ESS) is a popular pathway for athletic development with implications for enhanced skill acquisition but also adverse mental and physical outcomes (LaPrade et al., 2016). As such, adolescent athletes may face a dilemma regarding whether to play multiple sports or immediately narrow the focus to one. Coaches are positioned to influence motivational climates and sport-specific skill development (Amorose & Anderson-Butcher, 2007), making it important to understand their perceptions of ESS. Interviews were conducted with thirteen coaches of girls’ volleyball and basketball teams to gain an understanding of ESS as it pertains to athletes and programs at the interscholastic level. Participants identified influences and impacts of ESS, specifically how it can affect participation and competitiveness of interscholastic sports.
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