Excelsior

Follow us on

james@excelsiorgroup.co.uk

07976 306 494

Main Menu

Latest Blog Entry

An athlete’s guide to avoiding the flu.
November 15, 2017
Intro   Getting ill sucks! We’ve all been there, tucked up in bed shivering and feeling sorry for ourselves. Here is my guide to avoiding the flu. Nobody enjoys being ill and it can have a terrible effect on an athlete’s fitness, training and performance. Not only does having a blocked nose reduce performance, it […]
More

User login

Lost password?

LTAD: building young people

“Life is a process, but it’s hard to get through to the kids”

Finn Gundersen, GAIN VII.

what is ltad?What is LTAD?” has been demoted to a project question for students, a scientific discussion, or a pdf issued by National Governing Bodies (NGBs).

But, in my opinion, it’s about people: coaches, parents, teachers and, most importantly, the children.

Gundersen really brought this to life in this excellent seminar, based upon his work at Burke Mountain school in Vermont.

It starts with a foundation of:

  • Trust.
  • Honesty.
  • Respect.

If you trust the athlete, then you can give them some freedom to act. Gundersen has no “leaders”, instead, everyone is a leader: everyone takes responsibility.

I like this aspect, I see far too many youngsters walking around with “sports leader” or “physical leader” t-shirts: what about everyone else? 

With no peer groups, no heroes, no rewards and privileges “everyone is responsible for the community“. The kids have to do chores such as washing up straight away.  There are no gradings of ability such as ABCs, labels are avoided.

“Never underestimate your intellectual and athletic ability”

what is LTAD?is what Gundersen tells the kids. He tells the coaches “You’re not there to pick out a winner, you are there to coach all of them.” He told us “Don’t let teachers get away with it.” NO LABELS, we have to give HOPE to every kid in the programme.

(Compare that to a teacher who said I would never produce a good school gymnast because I was “working with the dregs“: how to write off 7 year olds.)

Coaches have to be patient, have belief in what they are doing and be non-judgemental.

This may sound a bit soft and cuddly, but the work at Burke Mountain was designed to teach the kids desire, andhelp them to go after things they wanted. 

This requires Hard Work in:

  • Community
  • Academics
  • Athletics

Some of this came back to PTA (Pain, Torture, Agony): they had to run in the rain and cold. They learnt how to suffer. The harder the better, not the line of least resistance.

If you think that is harsh, think about the new medical term “Exercise deficit disorder” where kids are put in front of a screen for 3-6 hours a day with no play time.

The reality of LTAD

Gundersen highlighted some of the LTAD issues they face: it’s as much a management strategy as it is a science.  

  • Sport vs sport conflict: sports trying to get the best kid earlier and earlier, competing with each other.
  • 25% of kids in high school do NOT like to compete, 50% like to, 25% can take it or leave it. This must be accounted for when planning physical activity.
  • Everyone has a different genotype, everyone therefore has different needs.
  • Early vs late maturers: there is an arms race within certain sports such as skiing with a smaller pool of athletes and fewer clubs being able to support good competition levels. This can result in over investment in the early maturer, when all evidence shows that late maturers do better.

The Profession of Developing People

Finn Gundersen LTADWith his vast experience, Gundersen has realised that he is in profession of developing people: it is not about the facilities. Whether the people are the coaches or the athletes, that is where investment and development must take place.

He looks for certain personalities: do the coaches have an operational mindset? Are they interested in continuous improvement? Do they accept responsibility? Are they accountable? Is there role clarity and acceptance of that role?

If the coaching structure and set up works, then the young athletes will get a better experience.

This was a great seminar, and Finn was available to talk the whole week, so I was picking up lots of tips from him. A very genuine and engaging individual: a lot of sporting bodeis in the country would benefit from his advice.

Further reading:

Comments

  1. […] did a presentation with the parents on Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) with special emphasis on the dangers of early sports specialisation. I told the parents […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newsletter Sign-Up

Get 2 FREE ebooks on coaching and training young athletes now. Simply enter your email address below.

* indicates required

Client Testimonials

Millfield School
For the past 2 years, as Head of Athletic Development, James has made a significant contribution to the development and understanding of athletic development among our sports programmes. With knowledge and passion, he has continually championed best practise in relation to the athletic development of young athletes, and been unstinting in the rigour of its delivery. As a coach, James has made a direct contribution to the development of several prominent individuals, as well as more broadly to our squads.
 
More

Upcoming Courses

Educational Gymnastics: 23rd November, Devon.
23 Nov 2017

Educational Gymnastics Children today are physically illiterate. The massive reduction in time spent in free play has led to a generation of people who have yet to experience the joy of movement. Formal gymnastics (as seen at the Olympics) requires the child to strive to perform very specific skills. The end product of the skill […]

More