Cycling South Africa’s Coaching Commission officially launched their Long Term Participant Development (LTPD) program, incorporating the Cycling for Life Initiative, in Sandton today (Thursday 17 November).
The launch has provided the Coaching Commission an opportunity to showcase the progressive developments of the LTPD program and the coach education structures currently in place and in effect at Cycling South Africa, as well as create an awareness of age-appropriate athlete development with the production of the highly informative Parent’s Guide booklet.
The LTPD has been adopted and integrated into 14 South African sporting federations over the past five years, with CyclingSA at the forefront of implementing this process. According to SASCOC, the importance of the program is such that if a sporting federation does not implement the LTPD program, then they will not be afforded the opportunity to send their athletes overseas for international competition.
Explaining the LTPD Programme
Integrating sport science research, combined with experience and working with athletes and coaches, the LTPD model is to develop a comprehensive set of principles for effective athlete development, throughout the ages.
LTPD is based on concepts of age-appropriate athlete development, and on the premise that participants will not only be more successful in sport but healthier throughout life if they develop “physical literacy” at a young age. These are a wide range of skills that include movement, balance, throwing, catching and hitting amongst others. The development of sound physical literacy skills, followed by ongoing learning and training introduced during “windows of optimal trainability” keyed to developmental ages and stages, is necessary for any athlete to reach their full potential.
Missing one of these steps, or introducing the “5 S’s” (stamina, strength, speed, skill and suppleness) too early or late, restricts the athlete’s potential and makes reaching the highest levels of performance more difficult.
In today’s day and age, schools no longer offer a physical education program as they did 30 to 40 years ago, and medical research shows that our children are increasingly at risk of obesity and disease due to the low levels of activity, as well as poor nutritional habits. Experts suspect there is a decline in international competition due to a lack of elementary physical activity and sport development during childhood years.
Since athlete and participant development is at the core of Cycling South Africa's mission, LTPD is key to everything the organisation carries out, whatever their role or level within the cycling system. It not only provides a safe, enjoyable, and progressive pathway for children to pursue healthy physical activity, but also provides a pathway to excellence.
What is LTPD?
- Is based on sport research and principles that have been widely studied all over the world
- Is contingent on an optimal training, competition and recovery program that is based on biological development and maturation versus chronological age (i.e. although young athletes may be the same age, their bodies are at very different levels of development)
- Is athlete-centred and coach-driven
- Is supported by sports administration and sponsors
- Is designed according to sport science to allow equal opportunity for recreation and competition
- Encourages lifelong activity and wellness, whilst providing a training path to possible medal performances for those who choose high performance competition
The goal of the LTPD Process is to help active people understand the needs of young athletes and what may be done to promote their best interests in staying active and healthy for life. This especially helps those who are already involved in physical activity and sports and are wondering how best to support their youngsters, not only to provide a safe, enjoyable, and progressive pathway for children to pursue healthy physical activity, but also to provide a pathway to excellence.
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LTPD is athlete centred, coach-driven, and administration supported.