More Evidence for Late Specialization


Current Boston Bruin and former U Minnesota hockey player Blake Wheeler had a hat trick and was MVP of the All-Star weekend Young Stars game. The following was written by Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald about Wheeler on Monday.

” For so many youth hockey players, hockey has become a year-round activity. It was not like that for Blake Wheeler who also played football and baseball at the Breck School in Minneapolis, Minn- and he feels he’s better off for it.

Said Wheeler ” For me, I think it’s the most important thing for kids growing up. You see so many of these kids just playing hockey 24/7 12 months out of the year. And for me i would have gotten really burnt out on it. It was important for me to have a balance in different sports…”

Don’t try to convince yourself that Wheeler succeeded in spite of not specializing. The evidence is overwhelming that athletes succeed because they do not specialize. If you want a great player, develop a great athlete first.

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2 Responses to “More Evidence for Late Specialization”

  1. Depends on where you are. Brendan Shanahan was a great Box Lacrosse player. Cam Neely didn’t take hockey seriously until Jr. High. Glenn Murray was an excellent basketbal player. Ray Bourque played baseball. I could go one and on.

  2. “Don’t try to convince yourself that Wheeler succeeded in spite of not specializing. The evidence is overwhelming that athletes succeed because they do not specialize. If you want a great player, develop a great athlete first.”

    I agree 100 percent! Do you have other examples of late specialists who went on to success in hockey. I know of Bill Guerin, Chris Drury, and Owen Nolan. Any others? I need more ammo to present to my local hockey association about trying to create athletes first and players later.

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