Early Specialization


Why is it that we think we need to identify kids early and have them specialize? There is very little relationship between success at an early age and success later in sports. The exception to that are the so called early specialization sports of gymnastic and diving, but I even question that. We need to give kids a broad base of motor skill s to draw upon. They should be exposed to many sports that have differing demands. In many ways I think we have misinterpreted the former eastern European system of talent identification. They did not try to pigeon hole an athlete into one sport early; rather they exposed them to a variety off sports and developed a good base of motor skills and general fitness. We make a huge mistake in this country of basing youth sports on age groups. There are often huge differences in the size and overall maturation level during the middle school years. The early developer has a huge advantage in this system. We need to have a forum of experts in developmental psych, child development, parents and coaches to come up with more effective guidelines or even a strong position statement on youth sports.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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