Are Kids Specializing in Youth Sports Too Early?

What Happened to All the 3-Sport Athletes?

These days, many parents (and their children) are feeling pressure to specialize in a particular sport earlier and earlier.

The pressure can come from coaches, parents, trainers, kids, or the media. A billion-dollar industry has emerged to meet this growing trend

In some cases, a child's first taste of athletic success (at age 5) will send a parent on two wheels to Dick's Sporting Goods. The sales associate sees this parent from a mile away. Hello daily sales quota!

I know it's flattering when the volunteer coach tells you that Ricky or Samantha has a "big league swing". You wonder, "Could it be? Could my son/daughter be that special athlete? Could I be the next Archie Manning?"

But before quitting soccer and dance and buying Ricky a $299 T-ball bat or Samantha a $199 softball glove, consider whether specializing so early is in their best interests?

This blog post makes the case for a slower transition to specialization - or no...

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10th-grade lacrosse player commits to Harvard

Can a sophomore commit to the Ivy League?

Good question. This blog sets out to answer a handful of questions regarding Ivy League recruiting, early commits, Academic Index, Athletic Boosters, etc.

[In this account, "Harvard" is used only to help illustrate the process]

While this example is specific to Ivy League men's lacrosse, I hope it raises some relevant issues for your son/daughter if they aspire to play a sport in college.

How can a 10th-grader "commit" to an Ivy League School when they haven't even taken the SAT or ACT yet?

For select sports (e.g. men's lacrosse), the recruiting process starts early (8th/9th grade) and players travel far and wide during the summers to gain exposure to top programs.

By early sophomore year, the highest profile lacrosse players often verbally commit to a school (more on why they might do this later). Coaches asleep at the switch risk missing out on the hottest prospects.

This so-called "commitment" is non-binding, not in writing, and...

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