What is LTAD?
Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) is a systemic approach put forward by Canadian Sport For Life and adopted by the Alberta Amateur Baseball Council to maximize a participant's potential and involvement in our sport. The LTAD framework aims to define optimal training, competition and recovery throughout an athlete's career to enable him / her to reach his / her full potential in baseball and as an athlete. Tailoring a child's sports development programme to suit basic principles of growth and maturation, especially during the 'critical' early years of their development, enables him / her to:
The LTAD model is split into stages in which a player will move from simple to more complex skills and from general to baseball related skills. For example, a beginner may start by learning basic throwing and hitting actions and then once this has been mastered he / she will progress onto more advanced skills.
This framework will set out recommended training sequences and skills developments for the participant from the Active Start stage (5 and under) to the Active for Live Stage (adult recreational). It will address the physical, mental, emotional and technical needs of the athlete as they pass through each stage of development.
Where has it come from?
A combination of recent research and the knowledge of coaches from around the world are being used to write the LTAD model. The program will be sport-science supported and based on the best data and research available. Our work will be based on the work of Canadian sport scientists and focuses on key, common principles of individual development, which many sports organizations consider good practice in long-term planning for athletes.
Many leading sports stars have also attributed part of their success to participating in different sports and activities at a young age by giving them a wider base of sports skills. Our goal will be to develop our players to their maximum potential by training and enhancing all the athletic skills that contribute to their success.
What has this got to do with baseball?
We are looking to provide children with the all skills needed to take part in physical activity throughout their lifetimes. We are looking further into the future than teaching the skills to win games or tournaments tomorrow if it may have a detrimental effect on them taking part at a later age.
It is thought that taking part in baseball-specific training too early can lead to an early drop out rate, create muscle imbalances and also neglect teaching the fundamental skills needed for most sports. In fact, research shows that early specialization in most team sports results in these outcomes.
Research has also shown that it is during childhood that people are best at learning physical skills. For this reason we are advising coaches and parents to teach transferable skills first that will allow your child to become proficient in a number of different sports and therefore increase their chances of being physically active throughout their lifetime. For example, if your child learns to catch and throw a ball successfully, an avenue to take part in other ball sports is opened.
General LTAD information
Please go to www.ltad.ca for access to further information on the LTAD process.