Long Term Development Plan
LTPD) is a CSA soccer-specific adaptation of the Long-Term Athlete Development model (LTAD) developed by Canadian Sport Centres. LTAD is a scientific model for periodized athlete training and development that respects and utilizes the natural stages of physical, mental, and emotional growth in athletes. Like the LTAD program, LTPD is designed to:
1. Promote lifelong enjoyment of physical activity.
2. Provide a structured player development pathway.
3. Describe best practices for elite player development.
4. Create long-term excellence.
Stage 1 ‐ Active Start
At this stage, players should participate in stimulating practices and games that develop basic technical skills in a FUN atmosphere. The emphasis should be movement exercises and games that promote a feel for the ball while teaching basic principles of play within a fun but structured setting. Informal games can be set up at the end of practices or as part of a jamboree mixing exercising and games.
Play equal time and try all team positions, including goalkeeper, and equal time should be allotted to practices and games.
GOAL: Encourage child activity and develop basic motor skills.
TECHNICAL: Introduce individual skills. Dribbling with all parts of the foot, combined with simple techniques for changing direction (turns, drag backs). Basic shooting where players experience success and the thrill of a goal!
TACTICAL: No tactical instructions. Emphasis on the individual.
PHYSICAL: Provide a fun setting and simple mode of play that develops basic movement skills in running, jumping, kicking, throwing and catching.
MENTAL: Fun and passion for play. Experience success and build confidence by receiving positive recognition.
LIFESTYLE: Enjoy a variety of sports and physical activities.
PERSONAL: Positive attitude and self‐esteem.
GOALKEEPING: No goalkeepers at this age. All players should learn the basic techniques of ball handling at different heights (not high balls) and throwing with one and two hands on the ground and in the air. Footwork is introduced including side‐skip to get in line with the ball. Introduce diving from a kneeling position.
Stage 2 ‐ FUNdamentals
At this stage, players should participate in stimulating practices and games that develop basic technical skills in a FUN atmosphere. The emphasis should be movement exercises and games that promote a feel for the ball while teaching basic principles of play within a fun but structured setting. Mini game formats are used, ranging from 3v3 to 5v5 and a basic league schedule can be created but no standings should be kept. All players should play equal time and try all team positions, including goalkeeper, and equal time should be allotted to practices and games.
GOAL: Technique development through fun. Emphasize skills and ABCs, not tactics.
TECHNICAL: Continue to develop dribbling, and introduce dribbling with sole, inside and outside of foot. Continue to introduce and develop techniques for turning and changing direction, including more advanced techniques such as inside and outside hooks, even step overs and scissors. Develop short passing with side foot and laces, and develop concept of passing to feet. Introduce receiving with inside and outside of foot and instep, and introduce ‘‘crossing’’ and shooting while dribbling.
TACTICAL: Basic game concepts and rules. Introduction to team cooperation through small‐sided games, but emphasis is still primarily on the individual. Finding space is important.
PHYSICAL: Develop the ABCs of movement: agility, balance, coordination and speed. Speed training should focus on quickness and agility. Continue general development of running, jumping, kicking, throwing and catching. Develop flexibility and suppleness.
MENTAL: Basic game awareness and situations/formats to develop decision making. Experience success and receive positive recognition.
LIFESTYLE: Enjoy a variety of sports and physical activities.
PERSONAL: Positive attitude and self‐esteem. Fair play and ethics. Promote group interaction skills. GOALKEEPING: All players take turns in goal. Continue development of ball handling at all heights and above balls (simple service/no opposition). Introduce simple communication (“Keeper!” “Away!”). Continue with basic diving technique from a “Gorilla” stance. Develop correct body shape. Introduce the concept of the keeper as the rear defender (Sweeper/Keeper).
Stage 3 ‐ Learning to Train
This stage introduces players to disciplined training and begins to develop their understanding of principles of play alongside their skills practice. Repetitions are important to develop technical proficiency, but creating a fun and challenging environment is still paramount to stimulate learning and promote a love of the game. Game formats can range from 6v6 to 8v8 as players advance through this stage, and again a simple league schedule can be created, but no standings should be kept – the emphasis is still FUN. All players play equal time and try all team positions, including goalkeeping, and the training to competition ratio should be 2 to 3 training sessions for every game.
GOAL: Focus on technique, skill development and introduce tactics. Talent identification is introduced but FUN is still paramount to this stage.
TECHNICAL: Golden age of skills learning. Teach more advanced skills and movements. Practice skills in games to encourage decision making. Develop and refine dribbling. Continue to develop turns, drag backs, shielding, and hooks, as well as fakes such as step overs and scissors. Refine short passing, develop passing with outside of foot and chips, and introduce medium and long passes. Introduce receiving with all parts of the body and shooting with volleys and half‐ volleys. Heading may be introduced towards the end of this stage.
TACTICAL: Continue small‐sided games. Introduce attack and defense principles and basic team play with 2 and 3 player combinations. Introduce positional awareness in a variety of positions. Teach basic set pieces (free kicks, correct throw‐ ins).
PHYSICAL: Continue to develop ABCs. Maintain flexibility and suppleness. Introduce warm‐up. Continue to develop quickness and agility.
MENTAL: Introduce basic mental preparation with goal‐setting, determination and concentration. Experience success and receive positive recognition.
LIFESTYLE: Enjoy a variety of sports and physical activities. Identify complementary sports.
PERSONAL: Fair play and ethics. Accept training structure and discipline. Promote group interaction skills and internal motivation.
GOALKEEPING: Players still take turns in goal. Resist temptation to limit goalkeeping to a few. Continue developing ball handling, ball rolling and over‐arm throws, footwork, goal kicks, drop kicks, moving back passes and punts. Introduce side‐arm and javelin throws, deflecting. Introduce variety of new dives. Introduce catching and deflecting crosses from a simple thrown service.
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