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Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) refers to a model of coaching that focuses on all development aspects of athletes. It emphasizes on the stages of human development and aligns them towards specific needs of the athletes. The model empowers the coaches to provide support to the athletes at all stages in order for them to realize their potential.
Besides, it encourages the athletes to be involved in the sport throughout their lives. LTAD principles are entrenched in the belief that young athletes ought to receive training from high quality coaches who enhances flexible approaches to their development (Cassidy, Jones, & Potrac 2009, p. 12).
The coaches also recognize that continuous development of the athletes is at the center of the model. This paper will focus on ‘training to train’ stage of the LTAD model and highlight ways in which coaches can tailor their strategies to achieve optimum results.
Training to Train Stage
This stage of LTAD model ought to target young boys aged between 12 and 16 years and girls aged between 11 and 15 years. Coaches should tailor their programs at this phase with the main objective of maximizing the overall physical capacities of the athletes.
Besides, the stage has a purpose of ensuring the development of physical movements amongst the young athletes. The athletes learn basic requirements of training and fitness depending on the specific sport they have already acquired skills.
Although some athletes may be quick to learn the training requirements, it is important for coaches to plan and organize ways to introduce the athletes to the training program.
At the outset, coaching principles at this stage dictate that the coach should begin by developing the athletes’ speed requirements. In addition, the coach identifies the sport specific skills amongst the athletes that he/she aims to develop (Cassidy et al. 2009, p. 67).
As such, it is imperative to develop skills that athletes would require in a specific sport at this age. Owing to the need for the athletes to develop physical capacities, the coach should initiate an aerobic base immediately after the start of their Peak Velocity Height (PVC).
It is at this stage that the coach should consider weight lifting. Learning the right skills in weight lifting should introduce the young athletes into diverse weight-lifting techniques. The coach need to develop knowledge of stretching as a routine way of training.
This will involve enabling the athletes to know various ways of stretching as well as the appropriate time to stretch. The coach should focus on helping the athletes to acquire knowledge of their nutritional requirements and the optimum rates of hydration during this phase.
With proper nutritional and dietary habits, the athletes will be able to optimize their outcome and development. According to Cassidy et al. (2009, p. 34), mental preparation during training sessions is important at this LTAD stage. It is the responsibility of the coach to assist the athletes to know the time to break and peak to counter the risk of excessive fatigue.
After the athletes have understood the objectives of the stage and the various aspects it encompasses, Martens (2001, p. 67) explicates the coach ought to establish a competition spirit. Mental preparation for the trainees before and after the competition is important at this stage. The rationale is that the athletes will attempt to optimize their productivity during the competition.
At this stage, the coach will be able to anticipate and identify the windows of opportunity for both girls and boys. It is expected that the boys will exhibit this after 12 to 18 months after their peak velocity height (Martens 2001, p. 23). For girls, the windows may be after the menarche and while the first window begin right away after peak velocity height.
The coach should be aware of flexibility of the training schedule. The reason is that the young people belonging to this age category experience increased physical and biological growth. The athletes begin to experience rapidly growing bones and muscles.
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Accelerated physical growth could affect the athletes’ optimized productivity during training. As such, the coach should be flexible in their training schedules to allow holistic growth of the athletes (Cassidy et al. 2009, p. 7).
Competition to training should be in the ratio of 4:6. This implies that the coach should direct 60% of the program on training while 40% should be directed towards competitive activities (Robinson 2010, p. 21).
In sum, training to train ought to be a stage that enables the athletes who have already mastered the required skills in a particular sport to acquire knowledge on training. It helps them to comprehend the fitness requirements of their respective sports.
In addition, they learn their physical abilities and important locomotive skills. This is through learning aerobics and their right weight-lifting techniques. They also understand their nutritional and water requirements and gain entrance into competitive routines.
Due their physical and biological development, the coach ought to be flexible. Indeed, it is recommended that 60% of the program should entail training while 40% should involve competitive activities (Robinson 2010, p. 21).
Cassidy, T, Jones, R & Potrac, P 2009, Understanding sports coaching: The social, cultural and pedagogical foundations of coaching practice, Oxon, Routledge.
Martens, R 2001, Directing youth sport programmes, Champaign, Human Kinetics.
Robinson, P 2010, Foundations of sports coaching, Oxon, Routledge.