Most coaches design their training programs based on players' chronological age. However, this is not the most effective way since biological maturation will affect many fitness-related components in athletes. Thus, coaches should train their players based on biological rather than chronological age. A good indicator of players maturity stage is the onset of Peak Height Velocity (PHV) or the age (A) at which players gain height rapidly. The average age for PHV is around 14 for boys although it varies widely and is affected by genes, environment etc. Before the APHV, boys could be trained based on their chronological age. After this age however, players should be trained based on their biological age.
The Long Term Athlete/Player Development Model (LTADM) is a general plan of training in children and adolescents. The LTADM was developed by Balyi, British Columbia, Canada.
The LTADM describes five stages for players’ development:
- Fundamental stage (6-9 years)
- Learning to Train (9-12 years)
- Training to Train (12-16 years)
- Training to Compete (16-18 years)
- Training to Win (18+ years)
Below you can read a summary of the training targets and means for each of these stages.