Q: Shouldn’t my 7-year-old focus only on playing squash if she expects to become a professional?
Research has shown that early specialization in one sport is not necessary to become a champion later. In fact, it might prevent your child from reaching the highest heights.
Take Jonathan Power, for example. The Canadian squash player didn’t start playing the game until he was eight, and continued playing baseball, hockey and tennis until he was 12. His world title came at the age of 24, after his body finished maturing. He earned his Commonwealth Games gold medal at the age of 28.
Science has proven that young children need to be involved in a variety of physical activities to develop all-around sport abilities.
By specializing in one sport too early, she could suffer repetitive stress injuries and might actually limit her development as an athlete, limiting her chances of becoming an elite squash player.
And children in team sports should avoid specializing in one position too early. There will be plenty of time to specialize when they are well into their teens.