Athletic Development for Future Stars

Did you know?
Baseball took:
45 yrs to include the first African American player
30 yrs to ban the spitball
70 yrs to require batting helmet
88 yrs to mandate catcher’s helmets

Baseball leadership/parents have always focused on the question of “how” we do things. Adults and coaches are always looking for the magic recipe, yet the kids are looking for the “why”. Do we do drills, workouts, or practices because that is the way they have always been done by teams that win or is it because kids need that at that point in their developmental maturation? How are we developing young athletes and “why” are we doing these techniques? Planning, preparing, and focusing on the long term development of all young athletes will breed success in the short term as well as their future careers.

In order to shed light on the best method for developing young athletes, we should turn to research and science. The Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) model best demonstrates the most effective means for developing young athletes. Athletes that follow logical and developmental pathways are more likely to achieve higher levels of participation. So what are these pathways?

The pathways mentioned are road maps that develop both fundamental movement skills (FMS) and fundamental sports skills (FSS). Basic FMS are agility, balance, and coordination while FSS are running, jumping, throwing, striking, catching, and dribbling. Once a young athlete develops these basic fundamental movement patterns and skills then they can advance. Without these, the ability to master a sport will be much more difficult.

Baseball bases the level of an athlete based on their chronological age, but notice how there are such large discrepancies on teams. This is because no two children are at the same developmental age. If a child is properly trained during the appropriate developmental phase, then they have the ability to learn that particular movement/skill at a higher level then if there is an attempt to teach them that later. Over the next several entries, we will delve a little deeper into the LTAD model and windows of trainability.

This cannot only make your child a better athlete, but a healthier one as well!