Table 3

Youth sport specialisation research priorities

PriorityDescription
1Conduct methodological studies to develop consistent, valid and reliable measures and definitions of youth sport specialisation and health outcomes (eg, overuse injury)
2Conduct prospective sport-specific studies of child athletic development and performance that address the effect of youth sport specialisation on achieved level of athletic performance and sport-specific skill development, while controlling for the role that training load plays as a potential confounding, mediating or modifying factor
3Measure the impact of youth sport specialisation on psychosocial outcomes including burnout, self-confidence, quality of life, self-esteem, depression and anxiety
4Conduct prospective cohort assessments of youth sport participation pathways (specialisation vs multisport developmental pathways) to attainment of elite status, discontinuation of sport or both. Studies should be rigorous qualitative studies on reasons youth select different developmental pathways to elite athlete status
5Study injury risk and other physical health outcomes (both positive and negative) of youth sport specialisation, with emphasis on sex-specific and sport-specific prospective studies that measure both training load and sport specialisation
6Conduct dissemination and implementation research to assess the impact of current guidelines and strategies addressing youth sport specialisation