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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

Windows of opportunity

We previously noted in Level 1 that an understanding of the windows of opportunity has been seen as important for guiding the type of activity emphasised at a certain stage of development. However, it may also be that a rigid adherence to this concept can mislead coaches into thinking that they must ensure high volumes of particular training that meet the particular age of onset of these sensitive development periods. While the research does suggest that young athletes may display a reduced capacity for power and characteristics of reduced skill (that is adolescent awkwardness) for example during PHV, it is clear that at all ages, children and young athletes will gain from a properly planned and supervised strength and conditioning programme. Evidence suggests that long term resistance training for example for teenagers will result in not only greater strength and power but also will contribute to ongoing movement improvement (Keiner et al 2013, Johnson et al 2011).

Figure 7. The Windows of Opportunity or Sensitive Phases for Development.

A further point to emphasize is that all fitness related components are trainable at all stages of the LTAD pathway. Once the S&C coach plans appropriately, taking into account the stage of development of the youth player and the previous background in Resistance Training, the teenager between 13 and 19 years of age should be physically and emotionally ready to benefit from a well-designed Resistance Training programme – be it AA, a circuit based strength programme or a more formal Gym based programme.

The development model as described by Lloyd et al (2011), see Figure 8 below, highlights the physical qualities that are important to develop during the adolescent years, and this includes: agility, speed, power and strength. Also note in Figure 8 that Hypertrophy (that is the development of greater muscle mass) is regarded as a trainable quality during the latter teenage years.

Figure 8. Long Term Physical Development as described by Lloyd et al 2011.