GAINcast Episode 250: LTAD

LTAD has almost become a cliché. Everyone has an LTAD program and they all look the same. How can that be? Because the models assume a linear march to the top of the athletic achievement pyramid. In reality it is a very chaotic process at best, full of detours, false starts and redirection. On this week’s episode we look at rethinking long-term athlete development with some practical examples from yesteryear and the present.

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Notes and quotes

  • 0:00 – Introduction.
  • 2:15 – Ryan Crouser as an example of long-term athlete development in practice.
  • 5:15 – Santa Barbara and historical perspectives on LTAD in the American non-system system.
  • 11:30 – Martin’s key points on LTAD: “(1) Sampling and well-rounded athleticism come first; (2) have fun and develop a passion; (3) save something for later and don’t play your trump card; (4) develop technique and speed early, but specificity is not specialization.”
  • 17:30 – Rethinking the LTAD model with the Sarasota Sharks.
  • 19:30 – Common traits of athletes that don’t develop. “When you look at talented athletes that do not develop over the long term, what do they have in common? Often it is on the mental side. Everyone hits a speed bump, and how do they respond?”
  • 22:00 – Pathways.
  • 24:00 – Final thoughts, including the role of coaching, scouting, and more.

To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.

Further reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:

  • The GAINcast is sponsored by GAIN. Prior GAIN attendees can renew their membership to get continued access to the GAIN library and this year’s talks. If you haven’t been to GAIN before, sign up for the GAIN Master Class series for access to 24 in-depth lectures on a variety of athletic development topics.
  • We’re also brought to you by HMMR Media. Join HMMR Media to get access to a vast library of online training resources, video, articles, podcasts, and more.
  • The interview that inspired this podcast was HMMR Podcast 280 with Mitch Crouser explaining the long-term approach that developed his son into a world record holder.
  • For more on the topic of LTAD listen to practical examples of LTAD in practice on GAINcast 69 with Patrick McHugh, GAINcast 171 with Johnny Parkes, and GAINcast 114 with Finn Gundersen. We also shared some of our own perspectives on talent development on GAINcast 79 and pathways on GAINcast 160.
  • Vern has written about long-term athlete development on several occasions. You can read more here and here. James Marshall also wrote about the problem with pathways.
  • The HMMR Classroom also has some great resources on the topic including Video Lesson 18: Long term athlete development with Steve Myrland, as well as some great practical examples such as the GAIN Video 16: Philadelphia Union Warmup with Bill Knowles.