Long term athlete development and trainability during childhood

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Jon Oliver with Rhodri Lloyd

Maximising the development of young athletes is the goal of many coaches and sports systems, with the aim to ultimately increase future sporting success at the elite senior level. Consequently, the requirement to identify methods by which talent can be nurtured is of paramount importance for coaches and practitioners. Although talent development is recognised as a multidisciplinary concept, encompassing the need for biological, social and psychological factors to be considered, talent development programmes predominantly focus on the development of physical athletic abilities throughout childhood. Such an approach has been widely criticised in contemporary literature due to the need to promote the holistic development of youth athletes. However, this should not detract from the importance of maximising physical fitness development of young athletes, but simply act as a reminder that coaches should also consider other aspects of talent development.

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