Here at Lakehill S.A., we subscribe wholeheartedly to the “LTPD” or Long Term Player Development model, as outlined by the Canadian Soccer Association below. This philosophy emphasizes age appropriate activities and curriculums, as well as prioritizing individual player development and enjoyment over short term on-field “success”(winning). To find out more about “LTPD”, please continue reading.
The Canada Soccer Association “Long Term Player Development: A Community Guide" PDF can be viewed here.
The British Columbia Soccer Association's “Benefits of LTPD” can be viewed here.
What is LTPD?
LTPD is a model of athlete development that parallels what doctors and psychologists have long used to better understand human development: as a series of distinct stages, which takes us from infancy through to adulthood. A person's abilities, behaviours and emotions, as well as their understanding of the world around them, varies from stage to stage.
Similarly, experts in sport science have identified seven stages of development - each with its own physical and psychological characteristics - that form the basis for LTPD. When young soccer players are able to train and compete in an environment that's appropriate to their stage of development, they not only perform at their best, they also have more fun.
In other words, LTPD is designed to give players an optimal soccer experience at every stage by putting their needs front and center.
We don't expect kids to compete in spelling bees without first teaching them their ABCs. When activities and expectations don't match with a child's developmental stage, this can set them up for failure.
The same is true when young children are thrust into a soccer environment that over-emphasizes winning at the expense of developing skills and having fun. The negative consequences can last a lifetime: Some kids develop bad habits and poor skills and can become discouraged. Many don't achieve their performance potential. Others end up leaving the sport altogether because they don't enjoy the game.
LTPD gives all players the best chance of success in soccer by tailoring training, competition and coaching to their needs at the appropriate stage of development.
When children learn the right skills at the right time - supported by a caring soccer community of parents, coaches, officials and volunteers - they become more confident in their abilities and have a lot more fun. This means more of them will grow into healthy, active adults with a lifelong love of the game.
Canada’s “Long Term Athlete Development Model”
• Eliminates gaps in the player development system.
• Guides planning for optimal athlete performance at all stages.
• Provides a framework for program alignment and integration, from volunteer club coaches to national and professional teams.
• Follows scientific principles and practical coaching experiences.
Benefits for players & parents:
• Better understanding of what makes a good soccer program.
• More players learning at their level and having fun.
• Appropriate game and league structures (e.g. size of balls, goals, field etc.).
• More opportunity for players to realize their athletic potential.
• More coaches who are knowledgeable in leading safe, effective practices.
Benefits for coaches & clubs:
• Information and education on effective coaching and practice methods.
• Guidelines for appropriate game structures.
• Guidelines on appropriate competition levels.
• Established pathways for player development for all levels of ability and ambition.
• Affirmation of best practices for coaches and club administrators.
Benefits for all:
• Competitive behaviour is fostered in players, while over-competitive behaviour is discouraged in adults (e.g. coaches and parents).
• Players, parents, coaches, and administrators understand that players are unique and therefore different in interest and aptitude.
• Players stay involved in the sport throughout their lives (as players, coaches, referees or club administrators).
• Soccer grows, and lifelong wellness is promoted for players of all ages, genders, and levels of ability and disability.