I’ve written many articles over the last few years about my concerns for early sports specialization and playing a sport full-time. I believe that playing one sport year-round as early as seven or eight years old can increase a child’s risk for injuries and burnout.
I’ve heard from a number of readers who disagree. Essentially they believe sport specialization is critical for improving sports performance.
Is it true? Does playing a sport full-time increase a kid’s chance of being a star? We’ve seen many pro athletes who started very early. Could it be effective for all kids? Or could it be harmful?
Does the sport itself matter? We have seen pro tennis players who got their starts at a young age. Should a young tennis player who dreams of playing at Wimbledon one day train five or six hours a day at 10 years old?
To get a better understanding of the extent of single sports specialization that occurs in tennis, I talked to Dr. Neeru Jayanthi. He is a primary care sports medicine physician at Emory University in Atlanta. He is the head of the tennis medicine program there.
This is an excerpt of an interview with Dr. Jayanthi that I recently posted inside of Sports Medicine University. In this audio clip, we discuss some of the most common tennis injuries. We talk about ways kids can balance early intense training and stay healthy. Then we discuss ways we might decrease the rate of youth injuries in all sports. I think you’ll love what he has to say.
Click below to listen.