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LTAD – Harry Jarvis

LONG TERM ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT (LTAD) by Harry Jarvis (Registered Coach / Tutor & Assessor) INTRODUCTION There is an increasing national awareness that many young people have a lifestyle which restricts their ability and potential to perform well in their chosen sport. Many reasons have been given for this and concern goes right through from sports governing bodies to national government. Some sports have for many years used activities based on “child development” “human growth and development” or “body preparation.” Badminton is one of the sports which has more recently embraced the work of Dr Istvan Balyi and produced the LTAD framework “Basics to Brilliance,” which details the theoretical basis of this more systematic approach, and defines a number of key principles and stages. The booklet gives information and introduces new terminology such as “windows of opportunity” or “critical periods of accelerated development,” when young people are more responsive to training stimuli. If these opportunities are missed, they may never reach their genetic potential, or achieve their ambitions. This article is designed to support coaches in the crucial gap between theory and actual practice, by showing a selection of activities which promote physical and mental development and look at factors such as agility, speed, coordination, stamina, strength, core stability, dynamic balance, dynamic warm up and flexibility. They are usually included as part of or just after Prepare to Play in the first 20 minutes of a session and are followed by specific sports skills development activities which are also related to the key stages and player needs. The full LTAD model also refers to other aspects of performance such as game ethics, planning, periodisation, training, match play ratios, mental preparation, goal setting, rest and nutrition. SAFETY It is an advantage to “know your player,” settle on a suitable programme for their stage of development, be aware of the likely effect on the participant and supervise closely to ensure quality. Attention to detail is essential and though many activities are “fun,” this should not be confused with “frivolity.” When introducing an activity, it is essential to ensure good technique is established first or the benefit will be decreased. A suitably prepared player is less likely to be injured, whether playing the game or training for it. MENTAL ATTITUDE Many activities have an element of fun but the player will still require a high level of concentration to gain full benefit, i.e. concentration on being precise or accurate, being aware of the use of body segments, the feel in the muscles, responsible counting, completing an activity with quality and being aware of adjustments required or performed. One of the benefits is that the players become aware they have to concentrate; they 1

LTAD – Harry Jarvis

improve their level of concentration and enjoy the challenge of the activity while improving their self discipline which is so important in progressing. VARIETY Where a programme consists of a number of activities it is beneficial to use a “rolling programme” where one activity is dropped weekly and is replaced by another to initiate a new stimulus, as after 6-8 weeks of use an activity can reduce its effect. BUILD UP Progress in sport rarely moves in a smooth continuum but is subject to peaks and troughs, sudden increases and plateaus, related to child development, growth spurts and opportunity. Adaptation can take place through normal growth, accelerated by the use of suitable training stimuli. It is therefore essential to arrange a build up in a programme. Starting “loads” should be related to the biological age and experience of the player, setting safe levels then building up at a pace indicated by their response. For example, Donald Chu, a plyometrics expert, recommended hopping as an activity, restricting first experiences to no more than a total of 100 foot contacts in a session. As the player responds, the “load” of the activity can be increased through changing duration, number, intensity or a combination of these, and can be individualised. In developing speed, the player will at first improve performance through better coordination in the activity but will subsequently need to put in maximum effort for further gains. Players should only move to increased intensity or difficulty when ready. Consider the following examples of build up:1. Agility and Balance – Tramline Shuttle Jumping • Place shuttles on rear court tramlines (30 inches / 75cm apart.) • Player starts at side, leaps over first shuttle, and lands in the middle, rebounds, leaps over the second shuttle, landing on two feet; repeat the pattern to return. • This counts as “1.” • Do 5 then rest. • This “set” takes 7-12 seconds. • Working alternately with a partner ensures convenient rest periods. To increase difficulty and create the need for lower leg muscles to work harder, the outside leg landings can be on one foot, the jumps can be higher, the sets increased, the movement timed to encourage speed and measure progress, or the distance increased. 2. Core Stability – Step Lunge Slowly step forward then lunge, keeping trunk upright and steady, arms by sides, in a technically good lunge. Progress forwards with alternate leg lunges. Develop by: • raising arms to horizontal, then overhead,


LTAD – Harry Jarvis

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moving arms in overhead position, twist by pulling one shoulder back, then the other, carry medicine ball overhead.

3. Dynamic Balance – Hopping across Rear Court Trams • Hop across and land in balance on outside leg, hold steady for 2 seconds and return, gradually progressing down the hall. • The distance hopped can be increased. • A more dynamic hopping pattern can be introduced by hopping across, rebounding on the outside leg and immediately returning, while progressing down the lines (“Indian Hop”). DURATION AND RECOVERY Stamina building activity can last longer but most other activities should continue for 30 – 60 seconds with those of a more explosive plyometric nature being 5-10 seconds, followed by a rest of 30- 60 seconds. If players work in pairs or threes, convenient rests can be arranged. Full recovery from strenuous activity may take 48 hours. LTAD work should be undertaken 23 times per week, preferably with a change of programme activity. COMMUNICATION It is useful to give activities a label where possible, thus saving time in repeating explanations.

SUGGESTED SESSION PLANS FOR KEY STAGES OF LTAD Fundamental Stage This aptly named stage underpins all aspects of an individual’s subsequent development in sport, providing a grounding in physical literacy skills – “the ABC’S of athleticism” (Agility, Balance, Coordination, and Speed.) Activities should be well structured fun, with opportunities to progress related to individual response, and consideration for variations and stages in the growth and development of children. Although of benefit to many sports, some of the suggested activities have a specific relationship to badminton. Coaches will need to select from the list, changing some at intervals but retaining a balanced programme. Guided discovery in challenging and problem solving situations stimulates general physical development and promotes confidence, self esteem and a positive attitude to sport. Some activities are also good indicators of raw talent. Coaches can observe abilities to learn, to master new skills or discover who needs more guidance. Start of a session for a group aged 6-9 years who have recently chosen badminton as one of their sports:1. Jog round the hall, alert to call from the coach. On “STOP!” the players freeze on the spot, all limbs under control (“statues.”) Develop by calling “LEFT” or “RIGHT” for the 3

LTAD – Harry Jarvis

2. 3.


5. 6. 7.

8. 9.


players to stop and balance on one foot, or “SPLIT” if the split step is to be encouraged. Jog up and down using arm movements related to swimming actions. (Some technical advice may be given, requiring response from the players.) “Sally Gunnel’s.” Alternate feet hop with body twist. Lifted knee goes across body, shoulder turn goes opposite way. Static at first then travelling. (Get the players used to twisting actions. Also a test of coordination.) “Superman.” Support on opposite knee and hand with free arm and leg extended in a straight line. 10 seconds – change under control – develop by extending time. (Core stability, coordination, balance,) “V sits.” Pass shuttle / ball under raised legs and behind back with control. 10 left - 10 right. (Core stability, strength, coordination, balance,) “The Plank.” Hold for 10 seconds; increase weekly; check body alignment. (Core stability, strength.) “Reach Out.” Stay behind a line in balance, how far can you reach with a shuttle / bean bag / cone / ball? (Compare effect of having one foot or two feet on the floor. Exploring balance.) Slow hop – travel down RC trams by hopping across –hold for 2/3 seconds in balance and return “Targets.” Throw shuttle over net onto targets. Partner returns. Underarm, overarm. Vary distance and target size. Encourage principles of preparation, balance, follow through, recovery. (Useful later in hand feeding.) Develop by catching on racket, pass back (coordination.) “Side tram chasse.” Two players on opposite sides of court; legs bent, wide stance, alert. One chasses fast down trams, partner copies. 30 seconds, change. Develop by adding split step to change direction and step to middle of court and return. (Agility, balance, reaction.)

Learning to Train Stage This stage offers a sensitive, critical period of accelerated adaptation to training or “optimal window of trainability,” and is seen as the major learning stage for basic overall sports skills. The fundamental movement skills continue to be practised and progressed. Start of session for group of 9-11 year old players who may have a little experience of LTAD work:1. “Tails” – chasing game to capture coloured band tucked into back of shorts (TIP – bend legs to be good dodgers. Agility, speed. Peripheral vision) 2. Wall rebound - throw short tennis balls against a wall (TIP – pick a target for each throw. Accuracy) 3. “Copycat.” Two players face each other, 1 metre apart. One moves feet with fast steps, chasses, split steps, feints. Partner has to copy. 30 seconds; change over. (Agility, observation, reaction.) 4. Partner pass – stand back to back, turn to right to pass and receive ball / shuttlecock, same to left (TIP keep the feet in same position. Twists) 5. Step lunge – arms by side (TIP – keep the head up, trunk vertical, no wobbles as progress down hall. Core stability)


LTAD – Harry Jarvis

6. Chasse (Change of pace) – Chasse down the hall, wide legs (TIP – bend the legs, change pace every 3 steps. Pace / agility) 7. Figure 8 – using doubles serve lines, travel sideways, forwards, backwards to complete a figure 8 shape. Alternate with partner 6x (TIP emphasise split step on all changes of direction. Multi direction agility) 8. Fast feet – 5-10 second bursts of fast foot contacts (TIP – relax between bursts, then FLAT OUT. Speed) 9. “Coloured Cones.” Place four different coloured cones in square of 3 metre sides. Use racket to touch cone called by partner. 10 to 20 cones or timed. Extend are to doubles serve zone. (Agility, reaction.) 10. “Hats On.” Put bean bag or suitable object on head. Work in pairs, pass ball / shuttle to each other. Develop by hopping or rally with rackets. (Ensures upright posture / fun.)

Training to Train Stage Training intensity and volume can now be increased and can include some aerobic work as well as speed training and dynamic footwork including multi directional activity. As a growth spurt or peak high velocity (PHV) may occur at this stage, there may be temporary loss of coordination and performance levels, requiring sympathetic attention by coaches. Start of session for a group of 11-14 year old players who have some experience of LTAD work 1. 3 minutes relaxed skipping; 4 x 30 seconds skipping, 30 seconds rest between. Own style fast; doubles 2. Step lunge, arms held high, I hall length. Return backwards 3. Penguin Hop. Rebound with both feet pressed together, legs straight. Use calf muscles to push off toes to travel in desired direction 4. The Plank, 30 seconds. Body in straight line. Side plank 30 seconds 5. Wide slow chasse, extended lunge position, I hall length – forwards then backwards 6. Very fast narrow chasse, 1 hall length. “Squeaky feet” 7. Wall twist. Stand with back to wall, ball held in two hands at chest height. Twist to strike wall with ball, return and twist opposite way to strike the SAME point. 10 twists. Relax 10 seconds. Repeat 3x. Develop to “speed twists.” (Fastest to 10) 8. Marker cone agilities 40 cones 6x. Vary method of travel; walk back recovery 9. Hit against wall 200x Vary area – FH low, BH high etc. Fast, short action 10. Net knock off. Start with kick through in RC trams, sprint to net, lunge, and brush off shuttle placed on net, return to RC. Repeat for 30 / 60 seconds. (reliable speed test) Training to Compete Stage This stage requires a step up in commitment to higher intensity and more specific training, to equip players for the demands of the game at competitive levels. Activities to develop power, speed, core stability and agility need to be combined with hitting practices and movement patterns which require the integration of all these abilities.


LTAD – Harry Jarvis

Start of session for a group of 15-17 year old players who have had at least 2 years experience of LTAD work 1. 3 minutes relaxed skipping; 4 x 30 seconds doubles 2. Step lunge with body twist, racket held over head with 2 hands. 1 hall length forwards and backwards 3. Hop backwards – minimum hops over 4 courts. L then R 4. Shuttle jumping in RC trams, single leg landing 5 x 5 sets Rectangle hopping. Use corner of court markings, 18ins x 30ins. 20 hops L, 20 hops 5. R (1 set) 3-6 sets 6. Gambetta crab 2 courts + return. From press up start position, straight body, move hands and feet sideways in sequence. Develop by crossing over hands (not feet) 7. Marker cone agilities. 6x. 4 directed, 2 personal choice 8. Hit against wall 200 times. Use squash racket. Forearm stretch after work 9. Danish agilities – shadow in restricted area e.g. doubles service court. Partner points or feeds shuttle accurately to corners. This encourages twisting / turning reaction skills. 16 – 20 corners (1 set) 4-6 sets 10. Tanaka system. Shadow in selected areas of court or with specific movement patterns. Maximum speed for 20 seconds; rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 6 times (1 set). Build up by adding sets and changing activity with longer rests between sets (2/3 minutes.) RESOURCES BADMINTON England “Basics to Brilliance” sports coach UK “Coaching for LTAD” UKCC Badminton Level 1 and 2 Awards Bisi Activity Cards Previously featured in Power and Precision Magazine – June 2008