LTAD: Learning to Train

What is LTAD?

LTAD or Long Term Athletic Development is a pathway for athletes to develop the skills necessary to be the best athlete that they were born to become. You can find more about LTAD here.

Learning to Train Phase

This is where the problems start to show. The lack of development can be devastating to the growth of the athlete. Injuries, burnout, and lack of enjoyment start to be a problem in the United States. There are 2 Windows of Training that can be instrumental in development and growth of the athlete. This window of training occurs in the 1st half of this phase.

What are the Phases of LTAD?

These phases are generally the case of years of development. Most athletes do fall into the same stages. There are times, especially when the athlete is between 12-16 years old where they will bounce back and forth to stages because of the large growth phases. Females are going to be 1-2 years earlier than boys in their physical development. These are great points of emphasis for coaches, parents, and mentors.

If you would like some other great resources go to

Active Start

  • 0-5/6 years old
  • Basic Movement Patterns, Crawling, Walking, Running, Twisting, Kicking, Throwing, Catching,
  • Not sedentary more than 60 minutes


  • 6-8/9 years old
  • ABC’s- Agility, Balance, Coordination, Speed Development
  • Basic Jumping and Landing Mechanics
  • Body weight exercise and general fitness goals

Learning to Train

  • 10-11/12 years old
  • ABC’s- Agility, Balance, Coordination, Speed Development
  • Jumping, Acceleration, and Deceleration
  • General Weight Lifting, Body Weight Exercises, and Fitness Goals

What are the Importance of the Early Stages


In the US we have a terrible attrition rate with athletics. We use our children’s passions like they were a job not knowing what it will do to their motivation, confidence, and drive to get better. 70% of youth athletes will quit playing by the time they are 13 years old. What is their major reason? “ITS NOT FUN ANYMORE”

DID YOU KNOW THAT OVER 70% of THE ELITE ATHLETES ARE “LATE” BLOOMERS? How many of the athletes are we, US, have already turned their athletic careers down because they hated the sport and were burned out? These are the athletes we need to be asking ourselves.

  1. Premature Specialization- Kids are getting into year round sports. Playing the same sport all year around which creates a ton of athletic development, overuse, and injury issues.
  2. Injuries- Journal of Sports Medicine States- “Youth injuries have increased 3-5% since 2005”.
  3. Lack of Athletic Development- Our young athletes are NOT being developed into athletes that can run, jump, and move well. They are being developed into a baseball, basketball, and football player NOT athletes.

The high school and middle school coach would say, “Its not supposed to be fun” “We have to Win”. —-That is the country that we live in today. We are killing our young athletes by trying to enforce a Win At All Cost attitude on kids that aren’t mentally, physically, and emotionally ready for it.

Our governing bodies that are responsible for this don’t have the resources to manage these sports like they are supposed to be managed.


“Flipping the Pyramid”

  1. Our governing body, USA (Olympic Committee), needs to step in and implement plans that are in place in other countries like Canada and the UK. Soccer and Hockey are the best plans that the US has today. Soccer requires coaches to do training for certain levels of coaching as well as certain skill development for each age group. Hockey does the same with their athletes. No wander- both of those sports were created in other countries (Canada and the UK).
  2. What if we actually found a way to bring the best coaches down to the lower levels? This means all the performance and development coaches, sport coaches, and “Flipped the Pyramid”. What would that do to the development of these athletes.
    1. It would create better athletes
    2. It would keep the attrition rate lower
    3. It would create a system and pathway that helped young people enjoy athletics


Canada LTAD Resources

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