The Olympics and LTAD
The 2016 Summer Olympics celebrate the Olympic ideal of a healthy body and a healthy mind. Looking at the Olympics from the perspective of Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD), the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio are redefining long-term. Several LTAD models followed research that indicated that in many sports, peak Olympic performance occurs around age 25-27. Then the models back-mapped the developmental stages to get aspiring young athletes from “the playground to the podium.”
With improvements in biomechanical analysis, equipment (including swimming pools ), as well as strength and conditioning (including rest and recovery), many athletes, even at the highest levels of competition, can continue to not only compete in multiple Olympic Games, but win.
Here are a few observations from the Olympics that can help us promote LTAD on the big stage:
- Coaching is important for the technical and emotional support of athletes.
- Many Olympians, such as Michael Phelps, followed LTAD tenets, such as developing all fitness attributes, from an early age.
- Strength training and conditioning separates elite performers in many sports, including Women’s Gymnastics.
- Multisport participation is gaining traction and the US Olympic survey that found 7 of 10 Olympians were multisport athletes, should be validated for these Games, as well.
- The placebo effect is alive and well, so the health and well-being of athletes must guide our decisions.
Please visit these excellent websites to learn more about LTAD to continue to promote a healthy, physically-active lifestyle, whether your dreams take you to the Olympics or around the block:
- National Strength and Conditioning Association: https://www.nsca.com/youth_training_and_long-term_athletic_development/
- Canadian Sport for Life: http://canadiansportforlife.ca/
- United States Olympic Committee American Development Model: http://www.teamusa.org/About-the-USOC/Athlete-Development/American-Development-Model
- Aspen Institute Sport for All, Play for Life: https://www.aspeninstitute.org/publications/sport-all-play-life-playbook-get-every-kid-game/
- Changing the Game Project: http://changingthegameproject.com/
- International Olympic Committee Consensus Statement: http://www.worldrowing.com/mm/Document/General/General/12/01/53/IOCOlympicCommitteeStatement_Neutral.pdf