Bone Bulletin



Participation in sports during adolescence is beneficial for participants as it improves fitness, enhances psychosocial development, increases academic performance, and boosts self-esteem.1 One of the most popular sports among adolescent athletes is baseball, with nearly 500,000 high school players in the United States in 2020.1 While participation in sports has been shown to have clear benefits and has been steadily increasing, recent decades have also seen a dramatic rise in the level of competition.2 As a direct result, there has been an increase in the prevalence of early sports specialization (ESS) with an estimated 14-47% of adolescent athletes focusing on one sport.3 ESS refers to a prepubertal athlete who engages in rigorous training for a single sport for over 8 months annually, while refraining from participation in other sports to concentrate on their primary athletic pursuit.4,5 Although ESS is becoming increasingly prevalent across various sports, baseball stands out with the highest prevalence of ESS (12.1%).6,7 This practice has become more popular due to parents, coaches, and athletes’ understanding of the common adage of the “10,000-hour rule”, where 10,000 hours of dedicated practice on one skill is required to achieve mastery or expertise in that skill.6 Assuming this rule holds true in sports, it is logical to think more time spent training on one sport at a younger age will translate into more success in the form of better performance. Parents also assume that greater success enables increased opportunities to receive collegiate scholarships and a better likelihood of recruitment to play in Major League Baseball (MLB).1–3,8 However, recent research has shown that the “10,000-hour rule” has not been shown to translate to sports and ESS may be far more detrimental for adolescent baseball players than it is beneficial.3,6,7,9–15

Included in

Orthopedics Commons