Over the last 8 years I’ve had the privelage of training some amazing athletes. Since beginning my career as a strength coach, many conversations have taken place regarding athletes specializing in a specifc sport at too early of an age. My primary role as a strength coach is to ensure that my athletes are in peak condition to perform their best at their next sporting event (practice or competition). I’m also a sport coach (ice hockey and mountain biking), so I also understand the importance of sport specific skill aquisition, but at age is this appropriate? Too many times I’ve had to teach kids how to move for everyday athletic endeavors (crawling, rolling, squatting, walking, then running). All of these fundamental movements have excellent carry over to sport specific skills, but they’re learned in the wrong order.
We have just answered the question: When can an athlete focus on sport specific skills? When they have learned the fundamental movement patterns efficiently.