Specialization

Sports can be classified as either early or late specialization. Well-known early specialization sports include artistic and acrobatic sports such as gymnastics, diving and figure skating. These differ from late specialization sports in that very complex skills are learned before maturation since they cannot be fully mastered if taught after maturation. 

Most other sports are late specialization sports; however, all sports should be individually analyzed using international and national normative data to determine whether they are early or late specialization. If physical literacy is acquired before maturation, athletes can select a late specialization sport when they are between the ages of 12 and 15 and have the potential to rise to international stardom in that sport.

Based on sport-specific work done by more than 100 organizations around the world, experts from the sport-specific groups indicated when sport specialization is recommended. this has allowed groupings of sport within early and late specializations.

>> Learn about the next key factor: Developmental Age

To read the entire Canadian Sport for Life - Long-Term Athlete Development 2.0 resource paper click here.