Rhodri Lloyd is a Welsh researcher who has an exceptional knowledge of long term athlete development models. He and Jon Oliver authored the book Strength & Conditioning for Young Athletes where several researchers wrote about the science behind LTAD models.
At the 2018 NSCA National Conference, Rhodri Lloyd gave this talk on Long-Term Athlete Development where he discussed the concepts of early sport specialization and the way governing sport bodies have latched onto a more holistic, LTAD approach. He shares some thoughts based on the most recent literature on the topic, and discusses some of the problems with the way young people are developing.
This is NOT a presentation that lays out the entire LTAD approach or model. Instead, it is more of a discussion about the up-to-date literature and what methods are being utilized by strength and conditioning coaches. For example, he talks about the idea of recording both standing and seated height on a regular basis as a way to determine femur growth patters. Since peak height velocity represents an important time in a young athlete’s development, this concept can help us determine when this is actually occurring.
One of the most important parts of this talk is that Lloyd actually presents evidence against the idea of “windows of opportunity.” This concept has been accepted by many academics for years, and it was interesting to hear him talk about the literature that runs contrary to this early information written about by Balyi.
He also talked about how the word “athlete” in Long Term Athlete Development might be a mistake. He suggested that we should also be focusing more on health issues and long term enjoyment of sport than simply high performance.
While we’re unable to see the slides used in Lloyd’s presentation, it is still a great discussion on where LTAD has been and where it may be headed.