If you like this article please share it with your friends and colleagues

    LTAD: The Train to Train stage

    This is the second of several articles that examines the various stages of the LTAD model. The Learn to Train stage was covered in a previous article.

    The Train to Train stage of the long-term athlete development model (LTAD) builds on the previous foundational stages and starts to establish physical, psychological, and sport specific habits that will aid the athlete in later stages. Remember the LTAD model is a giant periodization scheme and each stage is designed as both a continuation of previous stages and preparation for later ones. Canadian Sport for Life, originators of the LTAD concept, tags this stage as "building the engine."

    The primary growth milestone that takes place during Train to Train is the adolescent growth spurt. In development lingo this is called peak height velocity (PHV) and it represents the fastest rate of growth aside from that which takes place during the first year of life. Knowing when this period is taking place offers coaches and trainers unique opportunities to take advantage of accelerated periods of improvement for aerobic capacity and strength development.

    The other primary focus of this stage is the training itself. One of the problems that face young athletes is that they are sometimes faced with too many competitive opportunities backed up by too little training. Train to Train focuses on limiting competition so that a solid foundation of training can be established. This is not training for a specific competition but rather training for its own sake.

    As I noted in Athletic training for youngsters, the entire LTAD model is a periodization plan. Train to Train is part of that periodization and it comes immediately before the Train to Compete stage. So, although competition occurs during every stage of development it isn't really emphasized until other preparation phases have taken place.

    Characteristics of Train to Train

    Athletes are aged 12 to 16 years (girls are a little younger). After the previous Learn to Train stage the emphasis shifts to developing the athlete's physical performance capacity.

    Accelerated periods of development for aerobic capacity and strength occur during this stage.

    • Peak height velocity (PHV) signals an accelerated period of aerobic development lasting anywhere from 12 to 18 months. While aerobic training should be taking place during all development stages, during PHV the training effect is significantly greater than at any other time before or after this stage. The trick is knowing when PHV is occurring so that training can be adjusted to take advantage of it. Regular measurements by coaches, clubs, or parents can easily identify when PHV begins.
    • The second accelerated period for speed development occurs during this stage. Remember that the first occurred during the fundamentals stage and affected the central nervous system and had little to do with training. This second period deals with the athlete's actual ability to generate speed in a trainable way.
    • Finally a sensitive period for developing strength occurs immediately following PHV for girls and about 18 months after PHV for boys.

    Comprehensive training -- physical, tactical, social, and psychological -- prepares the athlete for the upcoming stages of Train to Compete and Train to Win. It might be helpful to conceptualize the Train to Train stage as the last of the fundamental preparatory stages, which is followed by what we typically consider 'sport participation' in the Train to Compete stage and later.

    This component includes developing the know how for athletes to take responsibility for personal aspects of athletic performance such as nutrition, proper hydration, psychological training techniques. In short, athletes are learning habits and routines that will serve them well throughout their athletic participation.

    Preparation centers on training. Although there will be competition involved in all stages of the LTAD the Train to Train stage emphasis in on training. The competition to training ratio is about 40/60.

    The Train to Train stage is often the stage we think of when we think of athlete development. The image that many people have, including coaches, is of this stage. It's important to realize however that the activities that take place during this stage are different from those that came before and that will come after. As noted in previous articles the same, but less training methodology is inappropriate for younger athletes.

    Criticism of the LTAD model

    I believe the LTAD model is the best athlete development scheme currently in existence. However, it does have critics. The main criticism of LTAD is that there are no longitudinal studies that show the validity of claims of sensitive training periods or accelerated periods of development.

    This is true. LTAD, however, is a relatively new concept that was fully described in 2004. It is too early to expect longitudinal studies to have been completed that prove or disprove the concepts that form the framework of the model.

    But, and here's the thing, the main value of LTAD is not the exact details that form the model but rather the concept of periodization that informs teaching and training of young athletes as they move from beginners to experienced athletes. If coaches can be educated that the development of future athletes is a specific process and not some kind of survival of the fittest contest then the LTAD provides a sound framework within which youngsters can have enjoyable and productive sport experiences.


    Bill Price (price@sportkid.asia) is the owner and Chief Data Scientist at Sportkid Metrics.

     

    All articles

    Fear of missing out is hurting youth sports - 23 October 2018 (940 views)

    Deliberate practice vs. late specialization - 24 September 2018 (256 views)

    Is talent identification even possible? - 17 September 2018 (255 views)

    Who won the Asian Games? - 10 September 2018 (447 views)

    Re-thinking the mission of Malaysia's sport associations - 03 September 2018 (311 views)

    Using maturity offsets to determine age at peak height velocity - 27 August 2018 (305 views)

    The youth sport talent illusion: How we confuse early-maturers with good athletes - 13 August 2018 (264 views)

    The tip of the iceberg: What are we seeing when we watch elite sport performances? - 30 July 2018 (474 views)

    7 things youth sport coaches should know - 25 June 2018 (299 views)

    Who is responsible for athlete performance: Athletes, coaches, or committees? - 18 June 2018 (246 views)

    Creating a culture of achievement in sport - 05 June 2018 (399 views)

    Sport development in the headlines (sort of): Is Malaysia really serious about revamping their sports system? - 28 May 2018 (260 views)

    Who won the Commonwealth Games? A points analysis of the Gold Coast games - 23 April 2018 (326 views)

    Kaizen: Improving sport administration will improve performance - 02 April 2018 (357 views)

    What can Malaysia learn from Norway about sport development? - 05 March 2018 (599 views)

    More efficiency tips for coaches: Dealing with more than one email address and other communication ideas - 26 February 2018 (352 views)

    Efficiency tips for coaches: What can you do to work more efficiently? - 19 February 2018 (384 views)

    LTAD: Training to compete - 22 January 2018 (381 views)

    Sport clubs are the lifeblood of national sport development. They need help from sport associations to do their job. - 15 January 2018 (321 views)

    Sometimes taking risks is the only way to improve: Take a chance! - 18 December 2017 (235 views)

    How we calculate age in youth sports can have benefits and consequences - 11 December 2017 (1861 views)

    What is bio-banding? Can it help reduce the relative age effect in sport? - 04 December 2017 (423 views)

    Understanding the role that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation play in the athlete development process - 20 November 2017 (604 views)

    Great expectations: Expect more, get more! What we learn from raising the bar in sport performance - 14 November 2017 (379 views)

    Why process is far more important than outcome in a learning environment - 25 September 2017 (481 views)

    Sport associations are embracing physical literacy training - 18 September 2017 (450 views)

    Creating a true sport development system in Malaysia - 11 September 2017 (1690 views)

    Who won the SEA Games? - 04 September 2017 (742 views)

    KL2017: Reporting individual sport results deserved better planning - 29 August 2017 (507 views)

    Can we please forget about ways to identify talent and just work on getting more athletes? - 07 August 2017 (473 views)

    Using the team selection process to boost motivation and increase athlete participation - 24 July 2017 (595 views)

    LTAD: The Train to Train stage - 10 July 2017 (923 views)

    LTAD: The Learn-to-Train stage - 26 June 2017 (516 views)

    Athletic training for youngsters - 12 June 2017 (496 views)

    Visualization and imagery in sports - 05 June 2017 (487 views)

    Young, single-sport athletes suffer more injuries and do not reach their full potential - 29 May 2017 (714 views)

    Transformational vs. transactional coaching - 23 May 2017 (464 views)

    Will they come back tomorrow? The most important KPI for youth sport coaches - 08 May 2017 (436 views)

    Advice to parents of young athletes - 01 May 2017 (421 views)

    Is VIP leadership of sport associations a good idea? - 22 March 2017 (473 views)

    What happens after an athlete's initial introduction to sport? - 27 February 2017 (455 views)

    "Where do athletes come from?" A paper presented at the Kuching sport psychology conference - 16 January 2017 (583 views)

    Understanding sport talent pathways - 09 January 2017 (541 views)

    Make 2017 the year of the growth mindset - 02 January 2017 (455 views)

    Teaching physical literacy skills in youth sport practices - 12 December 2016 (472 views)

    Developing sport from the ground up: How does the process really work? - 06 December 2016 (134 views)

    Pay for what you want: Why less government funding may be the best strategy for sport development - 21 November 2016 (421 views)

    The 10,000 hour rule: "Not for the faint of heart nor for the impatient" - 14 November 2016 (459 views)

    Parent involvement in their child's sport participation sometimes backfires - 07 November 2016 (429 views)

    How to do the measurements for determining peak height velocity (PHV) - 24 October 2016 (1417 views)

    A foreign coach is not always the answer - 17 October 2016 (413 views)

    Tips on creating an effective coaching environment - 10 October 2016 (790 views)

    Peak height velocity and aerobic development: Using simple measurement data to inform training decisions - 26 September 2016 (1739 views)

    Early sport specialization is still not a good idea - 19 September 2016 (403 views)

    What kind of data do we need to develop sports? - 13 September 2016 (491 views)

    The attrition and transformation models of sport development - 05 September 2016 (437 views)

    Solve for <x> - 29 August 2016 (405 views)

    Artificial elimination of athletes from training and competition hinders sport development in Malaysia - 15 August 2016 (409 views)

    Time is the most important factor in talent development - 01 August 2016 (1502 views)

    What if opportunity never knocks? - 13 June 2016 (474 views)

    The long-term athlete development framework offers youngsters a chance at sport success and an active and healthy life - 06 June 2016 (965 views)

    Early sport specialization is not a good development strategy - 30 May 2016 (1337 views)

    What does a declining population mean for sport? - 2 February 2016 (2014 views)

    Coaching 'flow' - 11 November 2015 (575 views)

    The coach's role in creating a deliberate practice environment - 02 November 2015 (460 views)

    When should athletes specialize in a single sport? - 11 September 2015 (478 views)

    Physical literacy: The Holy Grail of health, wellness, and sport development - 1 September 2015 (515 views)

    Revisiting the 10,000 hour rule: Practical thoughts on talent and practice - 10 August 2015 (537 views)

    The power of 'not yet' - 20 July 2015 (434 views)

    Let's stop trying to identify sport talent and start developing it - 22 June 2015 (592 views)

    Fear of missing out is hurting youth sports - 23 October 2018


    Deliberate practice vs. late specialization - 24 September 2018


    Is talent identification even possible? - 17 September 2018


    Who won the Asian Games? - 10 September 2018


    Re-thinking the mission of Malaysia's sport associations - 03 September 2018


    Using maturity offsets to determine age at peak height velocity - 27 August 2018


    The youth sport talent illusion: How we confuse early-maturers with good athletes - 13 August 2018


    The tip of the iceberg: What are we seeing when we watch elite sport performances? - 30 July 2018


    7 things youth sport coaches should know - 25 June 2018


    Who is responsible for athlete performance: Athletes, coaches, or committees? - 18 June 2018


    Creating a culture of achievement in sport - 05 June 2018


    Sport development in the headlines (sort of): Is Malaysia really serious about revamping their sports system? - 28 May 2018


    Who won the Commonwealth Games? A points analysis of the Gold Coast games - 23 April 2018


    Kaizen: Improving sport administration will improve performance - 02 April 2018


    What can Malaysia learn from Norway about sport development? - 05 March 2018


    More efficiency tips for coaches: Dealing with more than one email address and other communication ideas - 26 February 2018


    Efficiency tips for coaches: What can you do to work more efficiently? - 19 February 2018


    LTAD: Training to compete - 22 January 2018


    Sport clubs are the lifeblood of national sport development. They need help from sport associations to do their job. - 15 January 2018


    Sometimes taking risks is the only way to improve: Take a chance! - 18 December 2017


    How we calculate age in youth sports can have benefits and consequences - 11 December 2017


    What is bio-banding? Can it help reduce the relative age effect in sport? - 04 December 2017


    Understanding the role that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation play in the athlete development process - 20 November 2017


    Great expectations: Expect more, get more! What we learn from raising the bar in sport performance - 14 November 2017


    Why process is far more important than outcome in a learning environment - 25 September 2017


    Sport associations are embracing physical literacy training - 18 September 2017


    Creating a true sport development system in Malaysia - 11 September 2017


    Who won the SEA Games? - 04 September 2017


    KL2017: Reporting individual sport results deserved better planning - 29 August 2017


    Can we please forget about ways to identify talent and just work on getting more athletes? - 07 August 2017


    Using the team selection process to boost motivation and increase athlete participation - 24 July 2017


    LTAD: The Train to Train stage - 10 July 2017


    LTAD: The Learn-to-Train stage - 26 June 2017


    Athletic training for youngsters - 12 June 2017


    Visualization and imagery in sports - 05 June 2017


    Young, single-sport athletes suffer more injuries and do not reach their full potential - 29 May 2017


    Transformational vs. transactional coaching - 23 May 2017


    Will they come back tomorrow? The most important KPI for youth sport coaches - 08 May 2017


    Advice to parents of young athletes - 01 May 2017


    Is VIP leadership of sport associations a good idea? - 22 March 2017


    What happens after an athlete's initial introduction to sport? - 27 February 2017


    "Where do athletes come from?" A paper presented at the Kuching sport psychology conference - 16 January 2017


    Understanding sport talent pathways - 09 January 2017


    Make 2017 the year of the growth mindset - 02 January 2017


    Teaching physical literacy skills in youth sport practices - 12 December 2016


    Developing sport from the ground up: How does the process really work? - 06 December 2016


    Pay for what you want: Why less government funding may be the best strategy for sport development - 21 November 2016


    The 10,000 hour rule: "Not for the faint of heart nor for the impatient" - 14 November 2016


    Parent involvement in their child's sport participation sometimes backfires - 07 November 2016


    How to do the measurements for determining peak height velocity (PHV) - 24 October 2016


    A foreign coach is not always the answer - 17 October 2016


    Tips on creating an effective coaching environment - 10 October 2016


    Peak height velocity and aerobic development: Using simple measurement data to inform training decisions - 26 September 2016


    Early sport specialization is still not a good idea - 19 September 2016


    What kind of data do we need to develop sports? - 13 September 2016


    The attrition and transformation models of sport development - 05 September 2016


    Solve for <x> - 29 August 2016


    Artificial elimination of athletes from training and competition hinders sport development in Malaysia - 15 August 2016


    Time is the most important factor in talent development - 01 August 2016


    What if opportunity never knocks? - 13 June 2016


    The long-term athlete development framework offers youngsters a chance at sport success and an active and healthy life - 06 June 2016


    Early sport specialization is not a good development strategy - 30 May 2016


    What does a declining population mean for sport? - 2 February 2016


    Coaching 'flow' - 11 November 2015


    The coach's role in creating a deliberate practice environment - 02 November 2015


    When should athletes specialize in a single sport? - 11 September 2015


    Physical literacy: The Holy Grail of health, wellness, and sport development - 1 September 2015


    Revisiting the 10,000 hour rule: Practical thoughts on talent and practice - 10 August 2015


    The power of 'not yet' - 20 July 2015


    Let's stop trying to identify sport talent and start developing it - 22 June 2015