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  • Peter Miller

SGG episode #8: Professor David Bell tackles youth sport specialization


Coaches are important educational leaders in our schools, communities, and universities. The Sport and the Growing Good (SGG) podcast provides embedded, front-line insights on winning and positive development. The SGG podcast can be heard here and on all major podcast platforms.

As the youth sports industry continues to rapidly grow throughout the US, Professor Bell warns us of some problems with the athletics pipeline. He discusses:

1.  What should parents and youth coaches know about sport?

2.  What are the impacts of physical activity in youth and young adulthood years? There are widespread physical and social effects.

3.  Why are more and more kids dropping out of sports at younger ages?

4.  What is the definition of youth sport specialization? What does “highly specialized” mean? How is this different from just being a “single sport” athlete?

5.  What does puberty have to do with specialization? What should parents know?

6.  Why are there higher rates of specialization among young female athletes?

7.  The importance of the triad between coach, parent, and athlete in creating a healthy sporting experience.

8.  Recommendations: delaying specialization as long as possible; play on one team at a time; don’t play a single sport more than eight months per year – especially before puberty; play a sport no more hours per week than your age; and take two days off per week.

9.  What can college-level coaches and leaders do to help foster a healthy pipeline?

10.  Previous injury predicts future risk.