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Ep. 16 Should Your Child Specialize In Their Sport?

As students transition into high school, many multi-sport athletes wonder whether it’s time for them to specialize in only one sport. In this episode, we discuss the rationale, timing, and consequences of this decision.

Show Notes:

Today, I make the case for sports specialization - the process by which families decide that it’s in the best interest of their son (or daughter) to focus exclusively on one sport - and so they drop all the others (along with other extracurriculars in many cases). 

For example, a boy who has always played football, basketball, and lacrosse while growing up (all in different seasons), decides to drop everything but lacrosse in 10th grade.  Or, a girl, who has played volleyball and softball growing up - decides to go all-in on soccer in 9th grade. 

Is this a good idea? What does the timing look like? What are the advantages and potential drawbacks of this strategy? 

Now, If your child is not an athlete, then you might not get as much value from this episode, but I still think there are a lot of great lessons to be learned. The episode is geared toward families who have children who have grown up playing multiple sports, and they’re faced with the decision of what to do and when to do it. 

I will break down the who, what, when, where and why certain families make this decision, the pros and cons of the strategy, and the go/no-go criteria for making the decision. 

I provide two case studies that go through all the questions that I ask each family considering this decision.

Here is what I discuss in this episode:

0:00:55 What is sports specialization?
0:03:54 When is the right time to specialize?
0:05:25 What are the factors to consider?
0:05:39 Uncommon athletic skill?
0:07:08 How do their physical traits align with their sport?
0:08:23 Does your child have good genes?
0:09:15 Is your child internally motivated?
0:10:04 Do you have the resources to support?
0:10:57 What are other coaches saying?
0:13:16 Why, exactly, are you doing this?
0:13:35 Common reasons to specialize
0:15:44 To get into highly-selective schools
0:17:20 Professional or Olympic aspirations
0:18:05 Upsides to specialization
0:19:10 Downsides to specialization
0:21:06 Case Study #1 (female volleyball player)
0:26:21 Case Study #2 (male lacrosse player)

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Podcast Host: PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank, etc.

Inside PrepWell Academy, Black teaches students everything they need to know about the college admissions process in a series of expertly-timed, 3-5-minute, weekly training videos starting in 9th grade and continuing through 12th grade [Note: this program can only be joined in 9th or 10th grade]. My specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League, and student-athletes.

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