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LETTER: The consequences of single-sport specialization
As a former high school athlete, a current coach and an all-around fan of high school athletics, I wholeheartedly agree with your editorial regarding single-sport specialization. Too often high school athletes let both themselves and their teams down when they choose to specialize. These athletes are fueled by the mindset that in order to be the best they must participate in the same sport year-round. In addition to the increased risk of injury these athletes often burn out physically and mentally compared to their teammates who diversify their sports.
Not only does this take a mental toll on the athlete, but it often affects their teammates as well when that person cannot participate. This tends to be most apparent with those athletes who choose to participate in a club sport while also competing on a high school team. These athletes sometimes have two practices a day, one in each sport, or compete in an athletic contest only to have to go to practice for their other sport afterwards. This is not good for them physically or mentally.
I hope all athletes, coaches and parents review the mentioned study and consider the consequences of single-sport specialization.