Tom Green’s comments
“The results from this study indicate that although both selected and non-selected players benefit and improve as a result of training, a natural ‘gap’ does exist and continues to exist after years of training. Therefore, it is important that those who are less developed physically take steps to catch up to their more physical peers in order to influence the selection process. As well as seeking S&C support for physical qualities, my experience of talent identification has seen that individuals who do the basics well (e.g. punctuality, organised, friendly etc.) are also likely to succeed despite physical disadvantages.
“In the attached podcast, Jim Miller (Chief of Sports Performance at USA Cycling) suggests individuals who are motivated, employ a growth-mindset, build relationships, set goals and prioritise their development as athletes are more likely to perform at the highest level. My philosophy about working with youth completely aligns with this, as realistically not all will make it to the highest level. Therefore, the biggest credit our athletes can give to us when they leave is that they are good people, with strong values and identities. This places them in good stead to secure future opportunities in sport and employment, falling under the responsibilities of a holistic long-term athletic development (LTAD) programme.
Finally, sprint speed over 20-30m proved to be a factor that selection identified as significant. Therefore, coaches should look to continually develop sprint speed over acute distances (<50m), to ensure players stand a fighting chance of being advanced through the LTAD system. Those activities mentioned in the practical takeaways, coupled with some tempo runs (e.g. 50m in 6 seconds) should develop anaerobic qualities to drive sprint performance. Tempo runs should only occur when maximal sprinting technique (HERE) can be maintained.”