Early specialisation for the younger athlete

This month’s ‘11 in 11’ session is with Dr Dan Exeter on the subject of early specialisation for the younger athlete. Dr Exeter is a Sport and Exercise Physician based at the FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence in Auckland, New Zealand. Early specialisation occurs when a player chooses to participate in a single sport (at the exclusion of others). While it is often felt that this will lead to enhanced skill development, there is evidence to suggest that it may be also associated with an increased risk of injury and less enjoyment in sport. Dr Exeter discusses the pro’s and con’s relating to choosing to specialise in a single sport at a young age.

About Dr Dan Exeter

Centre of Excellence:
Axis and UniSports Sports Medicine Centre, Auckland, New Zealand

Medical Specialty:
Sport and Exercise Physician

General information:
Dan is a Sport and Exercise Physician based at Axis Sports Medicine Specialists in Auckland, New Zealand. He has also worked at another FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, Olympic Park Sports Medicine Centre in Melbourne. He is now Medical Director for Athletics New Zealand and was part of the New Zealand medical team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He was a Venue Medical Officer at the FIFA U20 World Cup held in New Zealand.
Dan has interests in the areas of injury prevention, hamstring injury, tendon injury, and cardiac screening of athletes. He is also interested in physician-performed ultrasound.
Outside of work Dan enjoys tennis, golf and snowboarding and while very much a New Zealander, does miss the roar of a full Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Team/Sports/Research/Academic Involvement:
Dan is the current Medical Director for Athletics NZ.  He is a former Team Physician for Hawthorn Football Club (Australia). He is a Senior Lecturer at the University of He holds a Masters’

Dan Exeter


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mabeysekeraDr. János Tóth jr.Mahmoud hamdy AbdelwhabDalibor Veber Recent comment authors
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Dalibor Veber

I would just like to recommend a great book on the subject, written by Istvan Balyi and others: “Long-Term Athlete Development”. Very nice talk, with few essential tips for everyday practice, thank you Dan!

Keep on the good work guys!!

Dr. János Tóth jr.
Dr. János Tóth jr.

Hungarian author

Mahmoud hamdy Abdelwahab

Health nutrition for athletes in thier activities

Dr. János Tóth jr.
Dr. János Tóth jr.

This topic was covered in my first dissertation. János Tóth (2008) Performance analysis of sport specialization and school physical education effects at elementary school children. Budapest, Semmelweis University Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Science, now University of Physical Education.


Very interesting Dan. Thank you !
Having worked on a patented medical device that assists with overload I can vouch for and relate to your thoughts .We have found that this exists to an extra degree with gymnasts and ballet dancers as well. Pubic overload is an area which we can arrest, Mostly called osteitis pubis amongst our football fraternity in Australia..Absolutely agree with specialising occurring at age 14-15.