Long Term Athlete Development is a framework for youth sports developed to provide more athletic opportunities increase engagement with youth athletics as a whole. It seeks to balance competition with personal developmental goals that better serve athletes of all ages and emphasizes participation at the earliest stages. It has been widely adopted by USA Hockey, Canadian Major Junior Hockey & Hockey Canada, and US Soccer in addition to USA Lacrosse.
What is the long-term athlete development?
The original driving force for Balyi and Way’s LTAD model was to improve the quality of sport programmes. The idea was to enable all participants to reach their full potential.
It is the planned, systematic and progressive development of individual athletes. It’s also referred to as long-term participant development or long-term player development (LTPD). LTAD is the answer to one fundamental question:
What needs to be done at each stage of human development to give every child the best chance of engaging in lifelong, health-enhancing physical activity? And for those with drive and talent, the best chance of athletic success?
Effective long-term athlete development focuses on what’s best for the participant throughout their life. Rather than short-term gains and early success.
The aim of the model is to address any shortcomings and resulting consequences that hinder the current system. As well as providing positive experiences for all participants.
Further info developed by the Canadian Lacrosse Association is available here
Chart courtesy USA Lacrosse