Medicine Hat Little League (MHLL) is excited to announce we are following in the footsteps of every national sports organization within Canada towards aligning with the world-renowned LTAD – Long Term Athletic Development Model. LTAD is a logical (evidence) based approach that aims to encourage lifelong wellness and promote optimal performances for players, particularly in the growth and development years.
The key reasons for our organization to start moving towards this model are:
- Develop the optimal training, competition, and recovery program for MHLL participants that meet the needs of our athletes at each stage of their development.
- Sports research shows that rushing into competition frequently results in technical, physical, tactical, psychological, and emotional shortcomings that hinder performance; leading to higher dropout rates.
- Short-term aims of “Winning” games amounts to short-term results vs. long-term process.
- To provide equal opportunity for all our players to participate and develop to their maximum potential.
- The ages 8 – 12 yrs are at the most sensitive period for the trainability of sport/skill acquisition. During this phase of greater trainability, we make or break an athlete. Proper programming at this age will lead to greater skill acquisition which builds confidence and encouragement to stick with and continue to build on these skills throughout the LTAD stages.
In 2018 MHLL will start a pilot project in the Kid Pitch 8 & 9 division. This particular division is very fortunate to have a very high calibre of coaches and we believe this is the ideal division to test this program. This program will focus on 70% development time, 30% modified gameplay. Our coaches will focus on developing fundamental movement and general baseball skills within a modified game structure that will transition into regular full games within the season.
This model is a fluid program model that can be adapted/modified to suit the coaches and players needs. Steven Russell, a Director with MHLL and who is responsible for Coach & Player Development, is excited about the pilot stating “This change is an athlete-centered approach vs. coach/parent approach. Programs that focus their development in this way are seeing a great return. We look forward to seeing our coaches in Kid Pitch 8 & 9 work on this new approach and provide feedback at the end of the season”.
The values of Little League Alberta are strong social skills, self-discipline, positive attitude, teamwork, endurance, dignity, commitment, dedication, ambition and friendly competition. With the pilot project for Kid Pitch 8 & 9, Medicine Hat Little League is connecting directly with Little League Alberta’s value system.