There is a substantial amount of evidence supporting the exposure of adolescent athletes to fundamental motor skills at an early age. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association, long-term athletic development (LTAD) should focus on:
promoting the development of general athleticism
enhancing physical literacy
reducing injury risk and
assisting in lifetime health and wellness
Rather than early specialisation in one sport, kids should play a wide range of sports, which should expose them to abroad range of motor skills. The health and wellbeing of the child is central to LTAD programmes, with a pathway towards physical literacy emphasised (NSCA, 2019). Physical literacy incorporates confidence, competence and resiliency.
Youths of all ages, abilities and aspirations should engage in LTAD programs that promote both physical fitness and psychosocial well-being (NSCA, 2019).
The following blog outlines the major benefits of a Youth Athlete Development Programme for your child.
The 5 Benefits of LTAD For Your Child!
#1 Promote Health & Wellbeing!
With screen time being considerably higher than it was in the 1980's (that wouldn't be hard mind you), kids are spending a lot more time in sedentary positions in comparison to previous generations.
This clearly means less time spent at formal sport or performing physical activity, which may be detrimental to their health in the long-term.
#2 Learn Fundamental Movement Skills!
The adolescent years can be challenging for parents (apparently). We describe this period as the time where growth and maturation occur.
LTAD programmes account for the fact that adolescents develop at different rates, with exercise prescription based on physiological maturation, rather than chronological age (Duggan et al, 2021).
The brain's ability for neuroplasticity in childhood makes this an ideal period to learn new skills. (Brain neuroplasticity is where the brain re-wires itself to function more optimally)
The image below outlines the key 'athletic motor skill competencies' that children will become familiar with during a LTAD programme.
The Athletic Motor Skill Competency Model (Moody et al, 2013).
#3 Reduce Injury Risk
If you're injured, then you aren't playing sport and you certainly aren't developing fundamental motor skills.
As well as teaching your child fundamental motor skills, a LTAD programme also includes a focus on injury prevention.
We aim to reduce future injury risk by increasing muscle strength, improving coordination, teaching you how to decelerate and addressing how to land from a jump (just to name a few).
#4 Improve Sports Performance!
Athletes will learn key movement patterns (i.e. squat, hip hinge, press and pull) in the gym-based sessions, as well as be introduced to plyometric exercises (jumping and landing).
Pitch-based sessions will target the mastering of deceleration, acceleration, changing direction at speed, agility and running at maximum speed.
Becoming competent in these skills can only improve your performance on the court or pitch.
#5 Increase the Likelihood of Lifelong Participation in Sport!
The issue regarding adolescent females quitting sport at an early age is a topic of discussion in Ireland currently.
LTAD programmes can help to reduce the risk of this occurring, by improving physical literacy & improving performance. Positive changes in both of these will likely lead to higher levels of enjoyment in a sport.
What To Expect
Initial & Final Testing Sessions
1-on-1 Supervised Gym & Pitch-Based Sessions (x10)
A Home-Based Exercise Programme (delivered via our App)
Sessions Fitted Around Your Child's Current Activities
Progression of Exercises Based on Technical Competency
What Our Clients Say
"I brought my daughter to Declan for rehab after she sustained an ankle fracture, and to get her joint strong enough to return to athletics and other sports. Treatment included mobility, stability and strengthening exercises, and finally pitch-based rehab runs. Declan communicated clearly what was involved in each of the drills, tailored the rehab to suit her, and also made it fun. He was very knowledgeable and gave plenty of tips to improve her future training. We are very satisfied with our experience and would highly recommend Buan Physio."
Video Clips of a Session With a Deceleration & Acceleration Focus
How do I know if my child is ready to engage in a LTAD programme?
It is appropriate for children to engage in a LTAD programme once they are emotionally mature enough to accept and follow instructions; and when they possess competent levels of balance and postural control (NSCA, 2016). This can be from 6-7 years of age onwards. Exercises are only progressed to more challenging variations, once the individual has shown that they are technically competent in the current level
Exercise selection and progression is largely driven by each individual's technical competency (NSCA, 2016)
If you would like to know more about our Youth Athlete Development Programme (12-session block) then click on the link below, pick up the phone or email me at at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sessions are normally 1-on-1, but if you have two siblings or two friends who are interested in the programme, then they can train together. The Programme is also ideal for any child who is recovering from an injury.
Book online now & invest in your child today!