Industry Insights

What You Should Consider About Specialized Training in Youth Sports

By Melissa Wickes
June 14, 2023
3 min

When I was growing up playing youth sports, I was fortunate enough to try a little bit of everything. I played on CEO basketball and volleyball teams, played Little League softball, did gymnastics, and danced because if I was interested, my parents found a way for me to try it. And it was the same case for most of my friends.

Today, youth sports are more expensive than ever—with 20% of families spending around $1,000 on just one season. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that so many kids are shifting to specialized training and skill development in youth sports programs. Kids are shifting away from the Jack and Jill of all trades mindset to try and become really great at just one sport. With that change comes a noticeable shift toward individualized coaching and new training approaches. 

Here’s what you should consider about youth sports specialized training when thinking about the programs you’re offering.

Why Specialized Training?

Specialization allows young athletes to focus on developing specific skills relevant to their chosen sport.  This targeted training can help them progress faster and even reach higher levels of performance. Coaches and trainers can tailor their instruction to address specific weaknesses and work on improving individual techniques. 

Secondly, individualized coaching allows for a more personalized approach to player development. Each athlete has unique strengths and weaknesses, and personalized training can address these needs. This can lead to more efficient and effective skill development, helping athletes reach their full potential. Not to mention, with how expensive youth sports are these days, you can’t really blame parents for striving to make the most of the youth sports experience for their child.

Another reason parents are shifting to specialized training for their kids is because it provides more opportunities for feedback and evaluation. Coaches can closely monitor an athlete’s progress, identify areas that need improvement, and provide specific guidance and corrective measures. This focused feedback can be crucial in refining techniques and enhancing performance.

The Drawbacks

It’s worth noting that while individualized coaching and training have their advantages, team-based models offer important benefits that can’t be found elsewhere. Playing on a team helps young athletes develop essential social skills, learn teamwork, and experience the dynamics of competition. Team-based sports also foster camaraderie, cooperation, and a sense of belonging. Not to mention, playing on team sports is known to benefit mental health in many ways, including:

  • Social acceptance
  • Decreased body dissatisfaction
  • Fewer depressive symptoms
  • People to rely on
  • Improved peer interaction
  • Improved social skills

What does this mean for your organization?

Your organization may already offer both modalities of coaching—which is great! If not, you should consider the pros and cons of both specialized training and team sports and see if it is the right fit to incorporate both options in your program. A well-rounded approach that combines individualized coaching with team-based experiences can provide a holistic development platform for young athletes.

Consider sending out a survey to current customers and gauge what kind of programming they’re interested in for next season or what they would change about the programming you currently offer. Also, you can audit what other similar programs in your area are offering so you can keep up with the competition and attract new members. 

Whatever kind of programs you choose for your organization, LeagueApps’ Player Invite tool is the best way to invite players from a tryout to a team or from last season’s event to next season’s event. This tool allows you to send private invitations to your participants so they can quickly register and so you can easily track them.

To learn more about tools like this, set up a call with a member of our sales team (all of whom are former or present athletes, so they get it).