Long-Term Athlete Development describes how to systematically develop sporting excellence and increase active participation in local, regional, and national sport organizations. This resource describes the long-term athlete development (LTAD) model, an approach to athlete-centered sport that combines skill instruction with long-term planning and an understanding of human development. By learning about LTAD, sport administrators and coaches will gain the knowledge and tools to enhance participation and improve performance and growth of athletes.
This text offers the first in-depth and practical explanation of the LTAD model. Long-Term Athlete Development integrates current research on talent development and assessment into practice to help sport leaders plan athletic development across the life span or design detailed programs for a particular group, including those with physical and cognitive disabilities. Authors Balyi, Way, and Higgs—pioneers and veteran LTAD facilitators—critique current talent development models, discuss the limitations of the LTAD model, and demonstrate the benefits of LTAD as a new approach. By integrating knowledge of these models, readers are able to analyze their own programs and take steps to improve sport and coaching philosophies and reach adherence and performance goals.
Explanations and visuals of concepts help readers understand the state of knowledge in talent identification and long-term athlete development. Chapter-opening vignettes offer examples of how the LTAD model can be used to alleviate common issues. Listings at the end of each chapter offer sources for further study, and reflection questions guide readers in applying the content. The text offers a logical presentation of current research:
• Key factors that guide and shape the LTAD model, such as physical literacy, the differences between early- and late-specialization sports, and variations in trainability across the life span
• Information on the time needed to develop excellence in sport and how periodization of training is related to the developmental stage of the athlete
• The seven stages of LTAD, from development of fundamental movement skills to training for elite competition and the transition to lifelong physical activity
• Considerations in the development of optimal programs for participants passing through each of the seven stages
Long-Term Athlete Development is an essential guide to improving the quality of sport, developing high-performance athletes, and creating healthy, active citizens. It offers parents, coaches, and sport administrators a deeper understanding of the LTAD model, helping them create an enjoyable, developmentally appropriate environment for both competitive athletes and enthusiastic participants.
Istvan Balyi, MA, is a sport consultant and expert in Canadian Sport for Life and long-term athlete development. Balyi has served as a sport scientist in residence at the National Coaching Institute in Victoria, British Columbia, and remains involved in the program delivery of planning and periodization and LTAD.
As one of the architects of the long-term athlete development model, Balyi has served as an LTAD advisor for 50 sports in 7 countries and facilitated the use of LTAD for more than 20 countries. Balyi has worked with 17 Canadian national teams as a high-performance consultant and been responsible for athletic development planning and periodization for multiple Olympic medalists. In addition, Balyi has taught planning, periodization, and LTAD modules in Australia, Bahrain, Chile, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, the United Sates, the Netherlands, and Wales.
Balyi resides in Victoria, British Columbia, where he enjoys reading, listening to music, and cooking.
Richard Way, MBA, is Canadian Sport for Life’s Senior Leader and is an expert on long-term athlete development. He is also a principal of Citius Performance Corporation and serves on the faculty of the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Delaware.
Way developed the LTAD model along with Istvan Balyi and has served as a long-term athlete development advisor for 30 sports in 4 countries. He has also facilitated the use of LTAD in over 50 countries.
As a chartered professional coach, Way represented Canada as a luge racer and coach for over 10 years. Way holds a Medal of Honor for Exceptional Contributions to the Development of the International Luge Sport awarded by the Federation Internationale de Luge de Course (FIL). He received his advanced diploma in coaching in 2005 from the National Coaching Institute.
Way is president of the International Sport for Life Society. He was also the director of sport for Vancouver’s successful 2010 Bid Corporation. Way enjoys spending time with his children in community sports, traveling, and playing soccer and hockey. He resides in Victoria, British Columbia.
Colin Higgs, PhD, is a sport consultant and expert in long-term athlete development. He has worked with many national governments and nongovernmental sport and disability sport organizations in North America, the Caribbean, southern Africa, and central Asia.
As a consultant, Higgs is currently involved in the redevelopment of the Caribbean Coaching Certification Program and the design, development, and implementation of a youth sport program in the Caribbean to reduce the incidence and impact of HIV/ AIDS. Higgs is working to transform the Canadian sport system with the goals of decreased negative medical consequences of physical inactivity and increased international sport performance for Canada’s athletes.
Higgs is a frequent presenter at international conferences and has authored more than 60 publications on physical literary, long-term athlete development, and coaching with special emphasis on individuals with disabilities.
In 2013 Higgs was the inaugural recipient of the International Paralympic Committee’s Sport Science Awards and also received the Queen’s 60th Jubilee Medal for community service to Canada in support of reeducing physical inactivity. He is a professor emeritus at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada. Higgs resides in Sydenham, Ontario, Canada.
“An indispensable guide for any coach or parent concerned with making sport healthier and more ethical. This book brings fresh ideas to the practice of sport and truly represents thinking outside the box. As human beings, we only have one body so we need to treat it well. Too many athletes leave sport with long-term injuries and a record of underperformance. The ideas in this book can change that and allow everyone in sport to get the most out of talents and ambitions.”
Jim Denison -- Professor, University of Alberta, Director, Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre
“The authors show that programs of sport and wellness can be complementary, not mutually exclusive. Thus, long-term athlete development is consistent with the goals of North American initiatives—Sport Canada, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.”
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