We have been explaining the Long-Term Athletic Development model and are wrapping up this month with the last four LTAD pillars:
- Pillar 7 is LTAD programs should provide all youth with a range of training modes to enhance both health and skill-related components of fitness.
Problem: Many people believe because of someone’s age, that they can’t do all the aspects of training
Solution: As long as it is done in a progressive, safe, and properly supervised way, then all aspects can be trained. These attributes are: aerobic endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, mobility, agility, balance, coordination, power, and speed. We are firm believers that the reason certain people have injuries, can’t move well, underperform, etc. is because they put themselves in a box and say “that’s only for athletes” or “I’m a basketball players, not a weightlifter”. As long as the coach and the athlete agree on goals and you train in the manner we mentioned previously, you will see improvements.
- Pillar 8 is that practitioners should use relevant monitoring and assessment tools as part of a long-term physical development strategy.
Problem: Coaches often say, “There is not enough time to monitor and assess our athletes”.
Solution: As coaches, we tell our athletes all the time “No Excuses”, but yet we use excuses like that. We have a saying here at HPI and it goes like this “If you are not testing then you are just guessing”. We pride ourselves in being able to optimize human performance for people of all ages and abilities. This is why it is imperative to have implement appropriate monitoring and assessments. Some of the key benefits are: reduce risk of overtraining, aid in program design, instill motivation for athlete, or obtain further knowledge.
- Pillar 9 is that practitioners working with youth should systematically progress and individualize training programs for successful long-term athletic development.
Problem: It’s impossible to individualize and progress everyone’s program
Solution: If you are in this profession, then you will find a way to adopt a progressive, individualized, and integrated approach to programming all activities of performance. We spend a lot of time programming, but we also spend a lot of time talking to our athletes, other professionals and coaches, researching endless articles and books to ensure we are optimizing their performance. It is an endless pursuit as it will never be PERFECT but that is the beauty of training and coaching. If everyone could do the same program and get maximum results for their individual self then there would be no need for coaches.
- Pillar 10 is that qualified professionals and sound pedagogical approaches are fundamental to the success of long-term athletic development programs.
Problem: People believe that coaching athletes, especially the youth is easy. “Just get them stronger, how hard is that?” you will hear people say.
Solution: Back in the hay days of the Soviets dominating the Olympics, people were wondering how they did it. Yes, drugs were involved, but too many people look at that as the only reason. The main reason was that they developed their athletes at an early age. Their best coaches were at the lower levels because that is when you can create good habits and proficiency of movement. An essential tool for all practitioners is the ability to promote a motivational learning climate where all youth are able to participate in a variety of developmentally appropriate activities, engage in personal reflection, experience success, and enhance competence to optimize development.