Finding the Right Balance Between Training and Practice in the Off-Season | STACK

Finding the Right Balance Between Training and Practice in the Off-Season

January 18, 2011

Must See Training Videos

Are you spending the right amount of time in the weight room? The time an athlete spends in the gym, as well as appropriate skill development, depends primarily on where he or she is classified within the Long-Term Athletic Development [LTAD] model created by Dr. Istvan Balyi, one of the foremost experts on long-term athlete development and the periodization of training programs.

Balyi’s model outlines the different characteristics of athletic development in several stages throughout the life cycle. Within his framework, young athletes should spend more time on developing fundamental movement skills and physical abilities versus specific sport skills. This focus then naturally shifts over time as the athlete ages and develops.

For the purpose of this blog post, let’s assume we are talking about a high school hockey player with more than seven years playing experience, who is entering the off-season. In the LTAD model, based on his age and experience, this athlete is classified as “Training to Compete” or “Training to Win.” During the off-season, he will devote roughly 75 percent of his time to improving strength and conditioning in the weight room.

As the summer progresses, the paradigm will shift to include more sports-skill development through time spent on the ice. Moving closer to the end of summer and the start of the season, the athlete will spend about 40 to 50 percent of his time on skill development, specifically skating mechanics, stick handling and shooting. In the weight room, training to reduce the likelihood of injury is paramount as the season draws closer.

Read on for more information on the first five stages of Balyi’s Long-Term Athletic Development Model:

Stage 1: FUNdamentals
Age: Males 6-9/Females 6-8
Focus on developing “fun”damental movement abilities and physical skills. Emphasis is on play and participation in as many different sports as possible for improved agility, balance, coordination and speed, among other skills.

Stage 2: Learning to Train
Age: Males 9-12/Females 8-11
Athletes learn higher-level skills related to a particular sport. Competitive element of sport is introduced, but not overemphasized. Primary goal remains to develop specific skills and techniques.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Stage 3: Training to Train
Age: Males 12-16/Females 11-15
Volume of training increases, but intensity remains moderately low. Mental preparation and training methods are introduced.

Stage 4: Training to Compete
Age: Males 16-18/Females 15-17
Training becomes more individualized, with a specific program created to address each athlete’s strengths and weaknesses. Training intensity increases.

Stage 5: Training to Win
Age: Males 18+/Females 17+
With the athlete’s physical, mental and technical skills fully established, objective is to maximize fitness preparation, sport skills and overall performance.

For more detail on LTAD [including Stage 6, which is retirement/retention], please click here.

Photo:  Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Sean Donellan is the director of Velocity Sports Performance facilities in Mahwah and Closter, NJ. Before joining Velocity, he spent seven years as the strength and conditioning coach for the New York Islanders and two years as director of performance at the Ice House in Hackensack, NJ.

Sean Donellan
- Sean Donellan is the director of Velocity Sports Performance facilities in Mahwah and Closter, NJ. Before joining Velocity, he spent seven years as the strength...
Sean Donellan
- Sean Donellan is the director of Velocity Sports Performance facilities in Mahwah and Closter, NJ. Before joining Velocity, he spent seven years as the strength...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

9 Ways Athletes Screw Up Common Exercises

Why Single-Leg Training Should Be in Your Program

Exercise of the Week: Trap Bar Deadlift

3 Exercises Every Athlete Should Do

Exercise of the Week: Med Ball Clean and Press

Hip Flexor Stretches for Better Performance

Exercise of the Week: Dumbbell Push Press

Why You Should Add Pull-Throughs to Your Workouts

Master the Turkish Get-Up in 6 Simple Steps

Exercise of the Week: Top Half-Squat

Exercise of the Week: Dumbbell Arm Swings

STACK Top 10 for 2012: Exercise of the Week

End Your Bench Press Plateau

5 Common Rowing Machine Mistakes Beginners Make

2 Glute Exercises to Increase Your Running Speed

Exercise of the Week: Band Diamond Push-Up

The Do's and Don'ts of the Deadlift and Back Squat

13 Fitness Challenges That Will Destroy You

Going the Extra Mile With a Plate Workout

3 Ways You're Messing Up Your Romanian Deadlifts

6 Weight Room Exercises for Lacrosse

You're Doing It Wrong: Exercise Tempo

Troubleshooting Tips for Popular Gym Exercises

The Oldest (and Best) Way to Build Bigger Biceps

3 Brutal Conditioning Ropes Exercises

Exercise of the Week: Hanging Leg Raise

6 Popular Exercises That Are a Waste of Time

Exercise of the Week: Army Push-Up

The Best Leg Exercises for Women

3 Ways to Develop Fast-Twitch Muscles

Get Stronger with Eccentric Training

Basic Core Exercises for Beginners

Exercise of the Week: World's Greatest Stretch

Exercise of the Week: Reverse Sled Pull

Alternative Uses for a Trap Bar