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NCAA survey finds many athletes regret specialization

January 25, 2016 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Among the findings in this year’s NCAA GOALS study was that many college student-athletes regret specializing in a single sport when they were younger.

NCAAResults from the 2015 GOALS Study of the Student-Athlete Experience were revealed at this year’s NCAA Convention. This is the third time in the last 10 years the NCAA has conducted the survey, which studies the experiences and well-being of current student-athletes.

Part of the study examined youth sports experiences among NCAA student-athletes. It found many athletes — especially those in hockey and soccer — began specializing before the age of 12.

The survey concluded that “student-athletes in many sports played that sport year-round growing up and participated in the sport on both club and high school teams. Many NCAA athletes think youth in their sport play in too many contests and a number of them (especially men) wish they had spent more time sampling other sports when they were young.”

In Division I, soccer (68%) and tennis (66%) led the way with the most athletes who began specializing by the age of 12. Track (9%) was at the bottom, followed by lacrosse (12%) and football (29%). Statistics from men’s and women’s Division I sports can be found below.

It would have been insightful to read the actual comments from student-athletes about specialization, but they weren’t included in the results. The study touches other topics such as on-campus support, the time commitments of athletics and expectations of themselves and family members.

Click here to see the complete survey.

The percent of male student-athletes in each Division I sport who say they specialized by the age of 12. | Source: NCAA
The percent of male student-athletes in each Division I sport who say they specialized by the age of 12. | Source: NCAA

 

The percent of female student-athletes in each Division I sport who say they specialized by the age of 12. | Source: NCAA
The percent of female student-athletes in each Division I sport who say they specialized by the age of 12. | Source: NCAA


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Bucki Futbol

I cannot find the statistics in the NCAA information that supports the opening sentence/conclusion: “many college student-athletes regret specializing in a single sport when they were younger.”

Where exactly is this survey result found?

Paul Geisler

Page 83, actually…it is deceiving, you are correct. “Many” is not really “many”, certainly not the majority, not even 1/2 (football being the highest)

“I wish I had spent more time participating in other sports growing up”
(Agree/Strongly Agree –Collapsed across NCAA
Division)
•Men (highest):–Football –43%–Basketball –39%–Baseball –37%–(Other sports ranged 26% to 33%)
•Women (highest):–Basketball –28%–Tennis –24%–(Other sports ranged 13% to 22%)