"I have never met a coach with such dedication and passion towards his athletes."
- Max Plaxton
athletes, cycling, willock, plaxton

Development Stages

Why Long Term Athlete Development Should be Your Model

by: Houshang Amiri

August 26, 2011

The development of an athlete can take years in the sport of cycling. You won’t see any cyclist winning the world championship or the Olympics within the first 10 years of the sport. Some may move from another sport to cycling and may have great results within the first 10 years, but they have spent many years training and competing in their original sport.

An athlete’s development is based on many factors — who you are, your age, your athletic background and a god-given talent. You can go into a training camp or a race and compete at the same level as everyone else and you may be better or worse than others, but if you don’t have a coach who can help you develop and progress then you will not meet your full potential.

It is important to understand the stages of development and find out where you fit in. Within the Canadian Sport for Life and LTAD (Long Term Athlete Development) there are two models and each model has four or six stages:

Early Specialization Model

1. Training to train
2. Training to compete
3. Training to win
4. Retirement & retainment

Late Specialization Model

1. FUNdamental
2. Learning to train
3. Training to train
4. Training to compete
5. Training to win
6. Retirement & retainment

There are sports that are using these stages and achieving the cutting edge, while other sports fail if they don’t follow the model. When you look at those stages, you will see one common word: “Training.” Appropriate and systematic training will identify and develop talent and make Champions. Many sports and countries are realizing this, and investing heavily in training centres and elite coaches where athletes can have a place to train under daily coaching supervision, and supported by sport science and medicine (e.g. Canadian Sport Centres). Other sports don’t succeed and are forced to close down their training centres.

Although racing is part of the above system and stages, racing too soon can be a career-ending move for some athletes. For example, if an athlete is in the “Learning to Train” stage and he or she goes to a race in Europe to do a race which they are not prepared for, and where that race is more suited to the “Training to Compete - Training to Win Stage,” they are not just wasting their time and money, but in many cases their disappointing performance may lead them to leave the sport entirely. Unfortunately this scenario is a reality. We are losing good and motivated young cyclists, and in many cases talented cyclists, due to mismatched racing programs and the absence of training systems based on LTAD. The result is no one is emerging from these racing programs and our pool of athletes is shrinking fast.

Realize where you are and understand your development stage, this will allow you to enjoy your training, knowing that you’re moving up the ladder of development. And remember there are no short cuts.

At Pacific Cycling Centre we are committed to developing your personal best and making you perform at youre very best. Under superior coaching and monitoring systems we will make you the next Champion.

For more information about LTAD go to www.pacificcyclingcentre.ca/tips/default.html?d=trainingtips/2009/08/17/19/)

Reference:
Canadian Sport for Life
CS4L-LTAD


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