Much has been said recently about the perils of early specialisation.

In fact, an increasing body of evidence shows that doing too much of the same thing early in development significantly increases our chance of an overuse injury and psychological burnout.

What’s even more interesting, we are now starting to understand how early specialisation actually reduces our likelihood of attaining and maintaining expert levels of performance.

Yes, that’s right.

A diverse range of backyard games and sports played as a kid is the best path to reaching our sporting best later in life.

But as we push hard for diversification, it’s important to not forget one thing.

Practice also matters.

And not just any kind of practice.

The type that is deliberately designed to improve performance.

The thing is, deliberate practice, isn’t easy. Doing it well requires sustained effort and focused attention.

And so, while we should encourage our young athletes to maintain range in their sporting interests, we must also ensure they spend time practicing deliberately.

The question is, did we ever show them how?