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BFS Magazine September 2016

Up Front from the editor:

Staying in the Game

It’s been said that the number of sports medicine clinics in the US is growing at such a fast pace that by the year 2019 they will all be connected by a giant walkway. That’s a joke. What’s not a joke is seeing a large number of athletes disappearing from high school athletes to specialize in a single sport.

While is true that to achieve the highest levels in most sports, early specializing often does more harm than good for most young athletes. First, most young kids don’t know what sport they have the most potential to excel in at the highest level, or what sport they will enjoy the most.

A father who played baseball may put their son in Little League, but perhaps this young athlete has poor hand-eye coordination yet has the physical gifts to be an exceptional middle-distance runner or cyclist? Likewise, a mother was distance runner may encourage her daughter to (literally) follow in her footsteps, but perhaps this young person is gifted with fast-twitch fibers and would be better off in gymnastics or basketball? Only by exposing children to a variety of sports will they be able to determine which sports are best suited for them.

Another issue with early specialization is that a young athlete simply may not like the sport. Studies have shown that 70 percent of athletes will quite organized sports by the age of 13. With physical education becoming more of an elective in schools, this means that many young people engage in little or not physical activity. If children do not exercise regularly, they are more likely to become overweight as adults. Let’s look at some numbers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 37.7 percent of US adults were obese in 2014. For those under the age of 20, the obesity rate in 2014 was 17.2 percent; in 1999, that rate was 13.9 percent. The accompanying chart shows how these trends parallel each other.

Getting back to injuries, specializing in one sport often leads to overuse injuries, especially if that sport is performed at a high level. Participating in a year-round strength and conditioning program helps, but often this part of training is neglected in many non-school sports programs. 

If a young person has the physical gifts and wants to specialize in one sport, that’s fine. But consider that exposing a young athlete to a variety of sports may be a healthier and more enjoyable approach to physical and athletic fitness.

Kim Goss, MS  Editor in Chief, BFS magazine

kim@bfsmail.com

Available to Read Now Click Here

 

Up Front
Staying in the Game...................................................1
What’s Happening
Sesely Omli’s Strong Comeback ...............................4
The BFS Program
Bob Rowbotham’s Tradition of Excellence ................8
BFS Feature Story
Unification in Action at the San Carlos Apache Reservation! ............................................................14

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