This commentary examines the argument for early sport specialization versus sport sampling from a physical growth and motor development perspective. Three developmental frameworks are examined (Mountain of Motor Development, Developmental Model of Sport Participation, Spirals of Engagement Trajectory model) to make the case that a broad base of fundamental motor skill competence is necessary in the early years before sport specialization in the adolescent years. Early sport specialization is criticized from the standpoint of increased risk for overuse injury, concerns about long-term growth, and the fact that early and intense practice schedules often do not differentiate elite versus nonelite athletes. A strong argument is made for early sport sampling to acquire a broad base of fundamental motor skills to apply to different sports, and to allow physical maturity to develop before specializing in sport. Such an approach also better equips a child to be active across the lifespan.
Jacqueline D. Goodway and Leah E. Robinson
Marty K. Baker, Jeffrey A. Graham, Allison Smith and Zachary T. Smith
versatility and well-rounded ability, skill, and athleticism ( Smith, 2015 ; Weinberg & Gould, 2011 ). Sport diversification is based on this well-rounded approach and suggests that athletes sample a variety of sports and emphasize a generalized physical training that focuses on basic skills and strategy so