A Skill Acquisition Perspective on Early Specialization in Sport

in Kinesiology Review

Click name to view affiliation

David I. Anderson
Search for other papers by David I. Anderson in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
and
Anthony M. Mayo
Search for other papers by Anthony M. Mayo in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

This paper examines the costs and benefits of early specialization in sport from a skill acquisition perspective. The focus is on whether early specialization in a single sport is the best way to facilitate the acquisition of skill in that sport. The paper is organized relative to the two major conceptual frameworks that have motivated much of the discussion about early specialization in sport: the theory of deliberate practice and the Developmental Model of Sport Participation. Our analysis reveals that while early specialization in sport is one way to reach elite status, it is not the only way. Considerable evidence shows that many elite athletes specialized in their sport late, following diversified experiences with other sports. These findings raise a number of exciting questions about the long-term development of skill in sport.

Anderson and Mayo are with the Department of Kinesiology, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA.

  • Collapse
  • Expand
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 2723 916 164
Full Text Views 50 15 3
PDF Downloads 74 23 6