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  1. Ice Sage says:

    Thanks for this blog, Dean – you’re providing valuable intellectual fuel for the motivated coach!
    As to the 10000 hour studies presented herein, I wonder whether the right question is being asked… the studies seem to focus on ‘sport-specific training’ whereas I’d bet all elite-level athletes would reflect on many hours spent doing broader athletic activities in their early years (as per LTAD principles). If some credit were given for this, I think we’d have fewer elite 4000-hour folks. In hockey, we sometimes see ‘late-entry’ players have success but I can’t think of one who didn’t have a broad athletic resume already.

    • Dean Holden says:

      Thanks for your comments Ice Sage! I enjoy locating and reading ‘new’ articles (and occasionally writing my own – not enough for my taste, but extremely busy raising my kids, coaching, teaching, etc!) and sharing them on this site!

      I agree with your reflection regarding the importance of following the LTAD principles en route to establishing a broad athletic resume. By developing a wide range of Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) in a number of modalities (gliding, striding, etc), and by participating in a wide variety of sports (individual and team), this is how one creates that broad athletic base from which specialization can occur when appropriate – given an early or late specialization sport!

      More studies seem to show that indeed, the total number of hours to become an expert might be reduced if a broader scope of related athletic activities were undertaken during the critical windows of opportunity in the LTAD! A wide base may allow to build a higher peak! I suspect that late-entry athletes to late specialization sports who become successful (so-called ‘overnight successes’) did just that!

      In relation to your comment on the LTAD principles, I am following them with my kids (3YO girl and 5YO boy) and so far, they have exceeded my expectations when compared / contrasted to the LTAD and in settings with other age-group children. They certainly hold their own so far as the ABC’s go!

      We have exposed our kids to gymnastics (a critical building block!), swimming, skiing, skating, bicycling, running, catching and throwing, soccer and ball hockey / floorball. For my eldest 5YO, tennis is on the docket this summer while hockey and basketball will start this fall. It kind of sounds like we are creating generalists and at this stage, that is a good thing. By no means is this covering all of the sporting bases, but given our country and climate, we feel we have done pretty well to provide a variety of experiences.

      The tough decisions will come later when the kids have to decide which three sports they want to specialize in; then two; then one. This will be dictated by each child (the passion they display, not necessarily the skill level; although these may turn out to be synonymous), and to a lesser extent, the sporting season (timing) so as not to conflict with the other sports, and finally, like everything in life, to time and money. (Hopefully, the sports will differ enough to keep them mentally challenged and interested but similar enough to compliment their skill-sets.) We are involving arts and crafts, some music… again not a fully comprehensive list and it leans heavily towards sports, but that is because both of us parents come from a sporting background!

      Academics will also become a priority: we will try to develop an open mindset to foster life-long curiosity and a love of learning. Time will tell how our “great experiment” turns out IE: our kids! So long as they enjoy their experience, stay fit and healthy, make friends as ‘team players’, challenge their personal limits in a number of areas, embrace competition, learn how to critically think and problem-solve, develop initiative, leadership, collaboration skills, empathy, respect and positive communication skills… ‘sports’ will have done it’s job and we will be happy!

      Take care and if you have any suggestions for article topics, please let me know. Perhaps that will inspire me to write another original article for the site!

      Cheers,

      Dean

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