Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Scientific proof supports (with a slam dunk) LTAD (Long Term Athletic Development.)

Re-Organize your youth sport activities now - just see what LTAD may offer.

As you read these graphs below and try to understand them, the following gets very obvious:

- Many kids are subject to outdated training methods
- Many kids can get better in their sports, by instead doing other things early on in their development
- Many kids may stay longer in their sports (the graph does not show this but this is a main idea behind LTAD)
- Many kids will get far less injuries, its like half off..
- Many sport clubs (also read coaches) are not aware about this - if they were they would indeed do things differently
- Many sport clubs (also read coaches) can improve their own performance by far
- Many sport clubs (also read coaches) can keep more of their players for extended years (the graph does not show this but this is a main idea behind LTAD)
…........and finally
- Since the US health insurance pays big money as we go to the doctor - I wonder why they do not promote LTAD - it would lower the number of health related insurance claims from youthsports - without a doubt - perhaps by 50%.

Now let’s look at the 2 graphs..

Black line represents Sport performance or results
Blue indicates the level of injuries
Red is Specialised practise
Grey is basic diversified practise (play and do other sports)
The horizontal axis describe numbers or years in practise, on average these children were 11 years old after one year in practise
The vertical axis represents a comparable unit to illustrate the differences


Further Explanations and Ramblings
These figures come from the Swedish Floorball Federation (SIBF) and their own development model SUI, based upon LTAD principles. In the first group above (grupp 1) that cover 40 children 11 of them - only introduced to specialized sport practise at a later time in life - reached the National Team performance level and the injury rate in this group was about 33%

In the other group (grupp 2) only 2 out of 40 participants, in group 2 - in total 80 children were studied in 2 groups, reached the National Team performance level - but here is the shocker - they had twice as many injuries as compared to group 1, or 66% of the kids developed what classified as injuries during this longitudinal study.
And yes, only like a tenth approximately of the early specialized group performed on par with the best ones that played other things in the early years -  this is DYNAMITE BROTHER and SISTER!

As one of the conclusions from the Swedish Floorball Federation they state that it is not wise to start to specialize in Floorball until just after the pubertal growth spurt. Yes, there is large ideas on when to do what kind of practice to in the LTAD inspired SUI model we look at.

How many local coaches do you think understands all this? Or other local leaders for Sport teams?

To us this is crystal clear. If you have your young gun in Hockey and you only Hockey and you Hockey, Hockey and Hockey practise 3 times a week and then play games like twice a week... You are not only on the danger track - you also limit the abilities for your own young kid to develop in an optimal way or you serve yourself a likely and early drop-out. And you lower your kids chances to perform at the elite level with maybe 10 times of what the kids playing around with swimming, wrestling or floorball do.
Is that what you want?

Hockey? Yes this goes for all other sports, perhaps Baseball and all the others where the amount of practise is so high - that your loved one is only doing one sport...

We have an organizational idea on how to develop this problem.... But let us get back to that track later on, in another post.

Yes, it is true the LTAD concept also presents ideas on when it is appropriate to start with more specialized training.

Yes, the LTAD model also presents ideas upon the ratio of practise versus games too, but we will try to dive into that subject in another post.

The main idea  behind the LTAD is however to not win a game - but to get way more folks involved for much longer times with lifelong participations in sports. Some tricks however have the power to make so many kids so much better - with as suggested only the half level of injuries. And the idea to build a large player base - will build the top too - you do not build from the top - but from the bottom.

So what happened to the US Health Insurance Industry? Gee, that is probably the hardest question of them all... We do not know.

And even if this post rely upon firm research and material from SIBF - the truth is that LTAD also rest on principles that just make basic sense.

How in the world could you do sports in any other way? And if you feel you do - it would be fun for us to know why?

Until we are back with more developed insights upon the LTAD concept - why do you not play some Floorball in the meantime?

Final statement: Floorballcentral likes research. But we do not believe all research we see so we are indeed highly critical. We think this example show a small sample of participants and the study is longitudinal - something that also always is a question. We also are not sure if we like the idea to use arbitrary units as a measurement since they are not as conclusive as standard units.
But otherwise these graphs make sense and yes we do think research like this should guide the way as you design youth sports - or just involve your kids.

Thanks goes to Emil Persson at SIBF for sharing the main document from them covering LTAD and the Swedish Floorball version SIU.
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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!