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This week on the WOC Podcast we ae so excited to welcome back Joe Baker from York University in Canada, along with one of his PhD students Sandy Mosher @sandymosher. You can follow Joe at @bakerjyorku on Twitter.

This was a very challenging podcast, as you all know what an advocate I am of sport sampling and Joe Baker did much of the early research in this space. Joe’s research focuses on optimal human development, largely to understand how someone gets to, and stays at, the highest levels of performance. He is one of the worlds foremost experts in talent identification and skill development, and his book Developing Sport Expertise is a must have for any talent developer. He looks at various psychosocial and environmental factors influencing athletic skill development across a range of sports with a goal of  building better theory/models and construct superior learning environments.

Sandy Mosher is a PhD candidate studying under Joe at York, and her recent article with Joe and Jessica Fraser Thomas entitled “Is it too early to condemn sport specialization” has caused quite a stir as you might imagine, so I knew I had to have them on to discuss. Sandy’s research in this area has found that we have potentially been making some false assumptions around early specialization, namely that if early specialization is bad, early multi-sport participation must be good. She says this is not necessarily the case as far as the evidence goes, and that there are actually many barriers to multi sport participation, and that some of the things we accuse early specialization of causing, such as injury, may be attributable to poor training more than specialization itself. Like I said, it is controversial stuff.

In our talk today we speak about many of these problematic areas, such as what exactly is early and what exactly is specialization, as we actually have no definition. In other words, if we go simply by the research, we cannot say that specialization is bad, nor can we say that diversification is good. HOWEVER, what is really clear after this talk is what is really bad for our kids are youth sporting environments that take away enjoyment, autonomy, and connection, do not teach multi movement skills, and over train athletes at far too young an age. It’s a fascinating talk, so I hope you are ready to listen closely to this one.


Way of Champions Conference 2021

This weeks podcast is brought to you by the 2021 Way of Champions Leadership Conference, August 21-22, being held virtually this year. We have put together a lineup that is out of this world for our event, and just added Tara VanDerveer, the legendary Stanford Women’s Basketball coach who just broke Pat Summits all time wins record on NCAA hoops. Other guest speakers include Steve Kerr of the Warriors, Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz, multiple time NCAA Champion coaches Anson Dorrance, Cindy Timchal, and Jenny Levy, and mindfulness expert George Mumford. Click here to learn more or register before we sell out!

Become a Podcast Champion! This weeks podcast is also sponsored by our Patreon Podcast Champions. Help Support the Podcast and get FREE access to our most popular online courses, a $300 value. If you love the podcast, we would love for you to become a Podcast Champion, ( for as little as a cup of coffee per month (OK, its a Venti Mocha), to help us up the ante and provide even better interviews, better sound, and an overall enhanced experience. Plus, as a $10 per month Podcast Super-Champion, you will have access to never before released and bonus material, including:

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Thank you for all your support these past four years, and a special big thank you to all of you who become part of our inner circle, our patrons, who will enable us to take our podcast to the next level.


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