Young Athletes Should Not Be Specialized Too Early

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Young Athletes Should Not Be Specialized Too Early In the world of sports today there is a much greater interest in finding talent at a very young age. Unfortunately, one must question whether this interest is a personal interest for others who have something to gain, or a genuine beneficial interest for the young athlete. It seem as though everyone today has the "what's in it for me mentality", which can be dangerous. These people, whether it be other athletes, coaches, or parents train athletes at too young of an age. There are four factors that support why today's youth should not be rigorously or specially trained. The four factors are the athlete's nutrition, time, physical state, and mental state. Before we go into the reasons why young athletes should not be trained too hard too early, we must assess why others feel a need to. As our world of technology increases, so to does media coverage. Now, more than ever, there is vast media coverage of national and international competition in sports such as gymnastics, figure skating, swimming, diving, tennis, and several others. In each of these sports there has been an extreme amount of focus placed very young competitors. Simply put, people are trying to replicate these athletes, which are nothing more than anomalies. Parents, youngsters, and coaches see these young athletes and the success they're having and are inspired by it. The hopes are of obtaining a college scholarship, having a professional career, or even competing in the Olympics. In fact, most Olympic sports have a selection process that identifies promising talent and immediately begins specialized training, sometimes before the child finishes grade school. The discouraging rate of success in regard to each of these goals is slim to none, but it does not deter people. For any athlete to compete at these levels of competition they must undertake a strict training regiment at an extremely young age, and risk their entire childhood. The first reason why young athletes should not be trained to hard is because of a lack of nutrition. An individual's calorie intake must be increased with any type of strenuous exercise. When athletes attend school for seven hours and have after school practices for another two and half to three hours they are not eating enough to be trained rigorously.

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