The Learning Process
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Long Term Athlete Planning

      The Long Term Athlete Planning (LTAP) model is a framework for achieving a schedule for optimal training, competition, and recovery for each stage of athletic development. Coaches who use this model and its practices are more likely to produce athletes who reach their full athletic potential. 

      The principles of this research have created the framework for management of youth and adolescent growth, fitness development, and training for recreational and competitive sports.

      Every athlete should strive for fundamental skills such as running, jumping, and throwing as part of  developing their involvement in physical activity and sport participation as lifelong pursuit.

Early Development
      The early stages of development should be designed around critical periods of accelerated training and recovery. These period of development represents the time when children become ready and able to develop fundamental sport skills and fitness abilities such as running, jumping and throwing. The emphasis dduring this development stage should be having fun and acquiring the proper tchniquic to improve their speed, agility and balance, which are related to developing skills in others.

      Children who do not develop their fundamental motor skills by age 12 are unlikely to reach their genetic athletic potential. A lack of fundamental motor skills may mean the difference between a day on the couch versus a day at the soccer pitch or the difference between a gold medal performance and a 16th place finish at the Olympics. 

      Establishing a core set of motor skills early in life enables children to gain a sense of achievement and establish a positive relationship with sport and physical activity.
      Successful and positive experiences with sport at a young age, coupled with the acquisition of transferable sports skills, will enable children to become proficient in a number of different sports. 

      Proficiency in many types of physical activity may increase the chances of lifelong participation in physical activity, which could increase longevity and overall quality of life. The LTAD framework ultimately strives to produce elite and consistent performers; however, it also seeks to provide opportunities for all children to grow into confident, healthy and active adults.

Long Term Athlete Development
      Developing fundamental skills at a young age and refining competitive skills at higher levels of development are important for able bodied athletes as well as athletes with a disability. This document is designed to be generic in nature and therefore does not delineate between able bodied athletes and athletes with a disability as the athlete development continuums do not differ significantly. 

The multi stage approach employed by the LTAP model notes the projected length of time necessary to develop an elite athlete. Research by the US Olympic Committee has shown that it takes between 8 and 12 years of training for a talented athlete to reach elite levels. This has been summarized by the “10 year or 10,000 hour rule” and equates to approximately 3 hours of practice each day for 10 years. 

      The US Olympic Committee (2001) surveyed US Olympic athletes from 1988 to 1996 and concluded that it took between 10 and 13 years of practice or training just to make the Olympic team and between 13 and 15 years for those athletes who won a medal. 

      While the intensity required at the outset of the athlete development continuum is not the same as the intensity required at the end, the common thread among all stages of development is the coach. More specifically it is the coach’s attention to the rate at which athletes grow and develop and their ability to make adjustments to the overall training program that contributes to success.

9 Stages of Long Term Athlete Development:

Stage 1: Active Start

Stage 2: Fundamental

Stage 3: Learning to Train

Stage 4: Training to Train

Stage 5: Learning to Compete
Stage 6: Training to Compete

Stage 7: Learning to Win

Stage 8: Winning for a Living

Stage 9: An Active Athlete for life

Recommended Reading:

Stages of Motor Learning
Intensive training in young athletes
Teaching Your Kids How to Process Criticism
Why we need a LTAD Model
The LTAD Framework
Long Term Athlete Development Framework
Long-Term Athlete Development LTAD 101
Psychological Skills for P.E., Sport & Recreation
Training Complex Psychomotor Performance Skills:
Task Difficulty on Inattentional Blindness
Effectiveness of Imagery Training
Mood, Self-Set Goals
Transfer of Learning
Transfer of Learning Issues
Taxonomies Of Transfer Of Learning
Literature review for automation skills
Glossary of Terms

Career Challenges for Olympians After Competing at Olympic Games  Olympian Career Study finds that many U.S. Olympic athletes are concerned that their athletic commitment delays their long-term career aspirations and advancement. More than two-thirds (70%) of current and hopeful Olympians reveal that the time spent "going for the Gold" creates a unique set of challenges regarding their future career success.

Long-term Athlete Development: Trainability in Childhood and Adolescence  Scientific research has concluded that it takes eight-to-twelve years of training for a talented player/athlete to reach elite levels. This is called the ten-year or 10,000 hour rule, which translates to slightly more than three hours of practice daily for ten years (Ericsson, et al., 1993; Ericsson and Charness, 1994, Bloom, 1985; Salmela et al., 1998).

Unfortunately, parents and coaches in many sports still approach training with an
attitude best characterized as "peaking by Friday," where a short-term approach is
taken to training and performance with an over-emphasis on immediate results. We
know that a long-term commitment to practice and training is required to produce
elite players/athletes in all sports.

    "It takes 10 years of extensive training to excel in anything"  Herbert Simon - Nobel Laureate

2001 - USOC Olympic Coach E-Magazine, Winter Issue   By Tim Gibbons, Researcher and Tammie Forster, USOC Athlete Development ... Olympian survey was completed by Olympians competing in 1998 or before.

2007 - USOC Olympic Coach E-Magazine, Winter Issue   By Doug Ingram The year was 1988 and USA Swimming had just experienced a team performance that was not at an acceptable level for them.

Olympic Coach Magazine, Spring 2008 -   April 1, 2008 ... Olympic Coach Magazine, Spring 2008, delivers the latest news on free eBooks, free magazines, free magazine subscriptions.

Olympic Coach Magazine, Winter 2009 -  Oct. 14, 2009 ... Download free magazines: Olympic Coach Magazine, Winter 2009. The US Olympic Committee's quarterly magazine, Olympic Coach, is now available.

USOC Olympic Coach E-Magazine - Periodization

Complete archives Olympic Coach Magazine

Developing Training Plans 

Physical and Mental Training Considerations

Developing Course Materials

Principles of Sports Training


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Course and Lesson Plans:

PDF  Trainability of Children
PDF  Trainability of Young Athletes
PDF  Writing Objectives
Long Term Athlete Planning
Accepting Criticism  

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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