Science Says the Most Successful Kids Have Parents Who Refuse to Embrace This Common Parenting Approach

In sports, early specialization appears to matter. Tiger Woods was less than 2 years old when his father began teaching him to play golf. He was on television by age 3. By the age of 5, he was in Golf Digest. Later, he became the youngest U.S. Junior Amateur champion. The youngest Masters champion. You get the point.

Andre Agassi started playing tennis when he was 4 years old. He went on to win eight Grand Slam titles. Michelle Wie qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championships at age 10.

Since elite performers in any field tend to spend significantly more time on deliberate, focused, consistent practice than non-elite performers, the sooner you start, the better.

Or not.

Roger Federer grew up playing soccer, handball, badminton, and basketball. Patrick Mahomes played baseball well into college. John Elway was drafted in the second round by the Yankees. Abby Wambach credits her soccer success, at least in part, to her time playing basketball.
In fact, the members of the 2015 U.S. national women’s soccer team played at least 14 different sports besides soccer — and all believed participating in other sports enhanced rather than hindered their soccer careers.
That anecdotal evidence gibes with science. According to David Epstein, the author of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World:

Among athletes who go on to become elite, early sampling across sports and delayed specialization is by far the most common path to the top.

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