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LTAD - a critique
Demands of the game
Profile of players
Functional screening
Resistance training
Speed and agility training
Integrated game conditioning

10 key principles of LTAD

Developmental age

The relative age effect (RAE) is common in team sports. The RAE refers to the selection of players who are born early in the age cycle. For example, a 12 year old born in January will have 11 months growth and development advantage over a player born in December of the same year. Further, the RAE is based on the fact that coaches tend to prioritise their selection of players on their physical and physiological maturation as opposed to their skills of movement and skills of the sport. The danger of such an approach is that later maturing players are sidelined and not given game time (and perhaps attention in coaching practice) and that as a result, they may be lost to the sport. Further, some Rugby Union programmes have actually taken into account this effect and have created opportunities for later maturing players to develop in a systematic programme with some success (Hennessy 2013).

Figure 6. The selection of early maturing players and the impact on the later maturing player is an important issue in Rugby Union.

As we have previously noted, the RAE impacts on the development of players and their participation in the sport. Further, coaches need to be conscious of the physical growth effect that occurs between 11 and 15 years of age. One important growth related phenomenon is that the early maturing player may experience what is now called ‘adolescent awkwardness’. The awkwardness may be displayed in movement and skill execution. The coach of the youth player needs to be aware of this and should seek to ensure that the growing youth’s potential awkwardness is managed as best possible.