Essay on Sports Specialization

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Sports Specialization

Sports are a popular pastime among all ages and types of people. People not only participate in them for fun, but also for money, physical fitness, rush of competition, and for many other personal reasons. Playing sports is especially common among young people in schools. Athletics are great and enjoyable for many reasons, but there can be a point where sports participation can go too far and become negative for children and adults. Sports specialization for young people is an increasing trend that results in sports having a negative impact on individuals and society.

Sports specialization among young people is when a child or teenager trains for and competes in only one sport. They work extremely hard
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The fact that young people now have the opportunity to get into professional sports at a younger age now encourages this trend. If a young person is very successful at a sport, the media will rave on about them and the publicity will only force them to work harder. Freddy Adu, a thirteen-year-old soccer sensation, is getting large amounts of publicity for his remarkable skills (Goodall, 2003). He has been featured in Sports Illustrated where he was referred to as “the prodigy of American soccer” (Wahl, 2003). Newsweek has also included articles about this remarkable soccer player, calling him “a preteen phenom” (Starr, 2004). ESPN Soccernet also reported information about his amazing skills (Goodall, 2003). The publicity of Adu is making this young athlete a star and keeping other young athletes focused on similar opportunities for themselves.

All of the publicity that is attained by success, and the possibility of this success, places a great deal of pressure and stress on these young single-sport athletes. This stress and pressure takes the fun out of some sports. Youth sports are becoming serious and based more on winning than on having a great time and learning good sportsmanship. Adu points out the winning mindset of athletes in this day and age when he says, “Teams will do anything to win the game. My coach told me to expect that going in and that is exactly how it was. . .I felt like everybody was out to get me” (Goodall, 2003). This
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