This is an excerpt from Training and Conditioning Young Athletes-2nd Edition by Tudor O. Bompa & Sorin O. Sarandan.
The training and conditioning programs proposed in this book account for internationally recognized stages of development; they range from under 12 (U12) to U23 (under 23, but over U21), where exercises and types of training follow a long-term progression. Long-term periodization of training is a gradual, progressive physical training program that, ideally, should lead to a greater possibility of an injury-free athlete.
The term periodization derives from the word period, which means “time interval” or “phase.” For youth sports, it refers to five specific phases (stages) of development of physical abilities such as flexibility, strength, speed, and agility. These five stages (see table 4.1 and the sections that follow) are interconnected in a holistic concept that considers athletes’ potential for each age group and assures continuity, progression, and effectiveness.
Table 4.1 summarizes the concept of long-term periodization and training goals in the five stages of development, which are further divided as follows:
- Make a child a player (U12-U17). Training objectives are progressive technical and tactical improvement of the main skills of the sport.
- Make a player an athlete (from U19 throughout the athletic career). Now that the technical and tactical fundamentals are established, the objective of physical training is to reach the highest athleticism possible. While technical and tactical training have the scope of achieving perfection, physical training will be a determinant for a player to become the best athlete possible.