Long-term athletic development- Part 1: A pathway for all youth.
National Strength and Conditioning Association
Health, Engineering and Science
School of Exercise and Health Sciences
The concept of developing talent and athleticism in youth is the goal of many coaches and sports systems. Consequently, an increasing number of sporting organizations have adopted long-term athletic development models in an attempt to provide a structured approach to the training of youth. It is clear that maximizing sporting talent is an important goal of long-term athletic development models. However, ensuring that youth of all ages and abilities are provided with a strategic plan for the development of their health and physical fitness is also important to maximize physical activity participation rates, reduce the risk of sport- and activity-related injury, and to ensure long-term health and well-being. Critical reviews of independent models of long-term athletic development are already present within the literature; however, to the best of our knowledge, a comprehensive examination and review of the most prominent models does not exist. Additionally, considerations of modern day issues that may impact on the success of any long-term athletic development model are lacking, as are proposed solutions to address such issues. Therefore, within this 2-part commentary, Part 1 provides a critical review of existing models of practice for long-term athletic development and introduces a composite youth development model that includes the integration of talent, psychosocial and physical development across maturation. Part 2 identifies limiting factors that may restrict the success of such models and offers potential solutions.