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LTAD - Do You Get the Big Picture?

What does LTAD stand for? What is it?

The first question is easy: It stands for Long Term Athletic Development.

The second question however is more important and the reason for me writing this article.

The other day I went to my old high school to help out 2 of the junior rugby teams with their conditioning. I was more than up for the job as it was my school and I wanted to help wherever I could.

I didn't know exactly how their sessions are conducted and wanted to find out when I would be switching (time wise) between the two teams, etc. While getting a bit more details I was told by one of the school coaches that they only want Rugby Specific training for their boys and the other teams coach agreed on this.

While knowing that it was not the root that I was planning on following (there's that arrogant little school boy coming out in me again), I agreed and walked down to the field.

I set out a couple of cones to show that I was doing some "Rugby Specific" drills and I even put two rugby balls in front of the cones.

I had 60min to work with these boys, guess how much time I spent on those "Rugby Specific" drills...

10min max!

I was not doing this to be arrogant or show the coach that I knew better, but purely to assess the players on their movement abilities. As expected the players were not in the best conditioning (not good for players that were half way through their season).

I was not told this directly, but one of the external coaches told me that the school coaches were very impressed with what I did.

Why am I telling you this?

Not to impress you, but to explain to you that when it comes to children it is not about being Sport Specific, but Long Term Athletic Development. Children need to learn basic movements and techniques and unfortunately this won't happen by solely training one sport or only sport specific drills.

For a child to have any chance of playing professional sports one day, they need to learn the fundamental movements when they are young. This is the true meaning of Long Term Athletic Development.

I can bet you all the money in the world that I can take one of these teams and work for a whole year with them without touching a rugby ball and they will more than double their performance!

Are you a Sport Specific Coach or a LTAD Coach?