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The Long Term Athletic Development Model (LTAD) - How it Impacts Youth Soccer Players


The Long Term athletic development is a holistic approach to developing young athletes that focuses on the long-term athletic and personal development of each athlete. The approach is designed to help athletes reach their full potential by providing age-appropriate training and coaching that focuses on developing the athlete's physical, technical, tactical, and psychological skills.


In youth soccer, the long-term athletic development model is essential for developing players that can play at the highest level and enjoy soccer for a lifetime.


The long-term athletic development model for youth soccer consists of several stages that aim to provide young athletes with the skills, knowledge, and experience they need to become successful soccer players. The stages of long-term athletic development are:

  1. Active Start (Ages 0-6) During the Active Start stage, children develop fundamental movement skills such as running, jumping, and throwing. This stage is crucial for developing coordination, balance, and motor skills.

  2. Fundamentals (Ages 6-9) During the Fundamentals stage, children continue to develop their fundamental movement skills while also learning basic soccer skills such as dribbling, passing, and shooting. This stage is focused on developing good habits, physical literacy, and enjoyment of the game.

  3. Learn to Train (Ages 9-12) During the Learn to Train stage, children begin to develop more advanced soccer skills such as tactics, teamwork, and decision-making. This stage is focused on developing a love for the game and building a strong technical foundation.

  4. Train to Train (Ages 12-16) During the Train to Train stage, athletes begin to develop more advanced physical, technical, tactical, and psychological skills. This stage is focused on building a solid foundation for high-performance soccer.

  5. Train to Compete (Ages 16-18) During the Train to Compete stage, athletes continue to develop their skills while also beginning to specialize in specific positions and roles on the team. This stage is focused on developing a competitive edge and preparing for high-level competition.

  6. Train to Win (Ages 18+) During the Train to Win stage, athletes focus on reaching their full potential and competing at the highest level. This stage is focused on high-performance training, tactical preparation, and mental toughness.

The long-term athletic development model in youth soccer is crucial for developing players that can play at the highest level and enjoy soccer for a lifetime. By providing age-appropriate training and coaching that focuses on developing the athlete's physical, technical, tactical, and psychological skills, young soccer players can develop into successful athletes and enjoy the game for many years to come.


In one sentence... Develop the physical literacy at a young age to be successful in athletics and ultimately build the tactical understanding for how to win games from there.

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