Wednesday, March 28, 2012

LTAD, and Floorball in Sweden

LTAD (also called or at least related to CS4L in Canada) is a an acronym standing for Long Term Athletic Development. This is hot stuff and some of the underlying ideas is that if you focus too much on one sport too early - it is suggested that two things seems to happen,
A) it creates an environment with more players prone to injuries and
B) more players tend to not get as good at the top level as research indicate that too much too early specialization tend not to be as efficient as compared to a model where athletes are exposed to many different activities. (think again floorball for Hockey players)

One reason behind this could be that several young players in a more elitism model are demoted to B teams, as they perhaps are behind in the development curve (as related to their own age) and thus therefore they might quit their sport too early. It seems further indicative that many good players not bloom until later in their career. We've heard that Mika Kohonen, the worlds best Floorballer, did not start to play Floorball for real until he was 18 years old. Another reason could be that teams (read players) either loose too much, or maybe even win too much to create a situation that makes their training and games become less attractive.
One main idea is; to be able to build the top of a sport you must first develop the youth and the base, because it is at the base, with a wide width, you create the right pool to reach as high as possible with the very best crew. Well it almost looks like a triangle and with a wider base - the very same triangle gets higher - as a constant rule.

Floorball in Sweden is one of the early adopter of the LTAD philosophy. So according to Folkbladet (a Swedish news outlet) what they will do next year in a Northern Swedish region, looks in principle like this. Youth players of different age will be mixed into three main groups for their leagues. This means they mix ages within roughly a three year span. The main criteria for doing this is not player age but the player skill level.
Ha, this spells the end for birth certificates!
So the old idea to divide players according to age is not crucial anymore. The next thing is that they set up a dual league system with teams participating in more than one league. The teams will be matched to - in principle - play against teams that are stronger one time and the next time they are matched to play a weaker team. This ought to create a situation where teams are supposed to win and loose in a rather dynamic pattern. And no teams will end up as typical constant winners or constant losers. And hopefully all players will stay happy and inspired.

This is darn interesting to us - and maybe it could possibly curb some of the drop outs from sports as kids turn 13?

Rumors indicates that USA hockey have looked into this development model too, if they now not already are working on to have it in place at some point. Perhaps it was all just talk - dunno.

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Research suggest that eye-injuries are more common in Floorball as compared to Tennis, but less common as compared to Squash (similar to Racquetball).
To minimize this risk of injury Floorballcentral recommend: Use certified protective eye-wear (mandated in many European areas for the youth). Do not lay down on the court. Follow the rules strict on stick height.

Also if you get addicted to this sport - do not blame us!