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A Holistic Approach - Physical, technical, tactical, mental, cognitive and emotional development


People develop at different rates. In sport, the athletes experience change throughout their development – physical, mental, cognitive and emotional – each progressing at their own rate and the timing of development varies. Each factor needs to be considered by coaches and administrators when developing programs and competitions. Athletes should be grouped for training according to their technical (skill) abilities. However, many other factors contribute to the overall performance of the player in competition and training. A coach must be aware of strengths and weaknesses in the player and adapt the program accordingly.


Developing the whole athlete, including character and ethics, is an important focus of the LTAD stage-by-stage approach. As Ultimate expands programs into schools and players continue to enter from other sports, it is critical that Spirit of the Game, character development and a strong ethical component is reinforced in training and in competition.


Excellence Takes Time


Scientific research concludes that it takes a minimum of 10 years or 10,000 hours of deliberate practice for athletes in any sport to reach elite performance levels. The stage-by-stage approach of the LTAD articulates the developmental focus during each stage in order to pursue excellence. This long-term approach promotes taking the time to develop a strong and healthy athlete through planned training, competition and recovery.


It is important to ensure that any new Ultimate player, regardless of age, is given adequate time to acquire the skills and knowledge emphasized at each stage in order to play with confidence, contribute to their team, have fun and continue to develop. As Ultimate is a late-entry sport, a number of our elite athletes bring diverse competitive sport backgrounds. They have reached the elite level by applying transferable skills from other sports to Ultimate while focusing on major game components including disc skills, field sense and Spirit of the


Game.


Calendar Planning for Competition “The system of competition makes or breaks an athlete” (Balyi et al 2005)


A competition (game) serves a number of purposes: • To measure the individual player and team’s performance against their opponent(s) • To examine the individual player and team’s improvements based on identified priorities in the periodized plan • To identify strengths and weaknesses of the team and individuals on the team • To test new skills and tactics learned in the previous week(s) of practice • To have fun playing the game • To test and refine the individual skills in a game environment


The structure and frequency of competition is critical to athlete development. Using the LTAD stage-by-stage approach, the competition structure should test the skill, physical and tactical competencies identified as priorities within the athlete’s stage of development. Often teams compete too often and do not dedicate enough time to skill development.


ULTIMATE CANADA LTAD 22


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