Lately there has been a lot of attention directed towards youth participation in all sports and not just weightlifting. Whether you refer to it as ADM (Athlete Development Model) or LTAD (Long Term Athletic Development) the philosophy is the same. How do you safely bring young children along the path to high level athletic performance, if they choose to do that?
USA Weightlifting was involved from the beginning of the USOC’s efforts which began in the summer of 2013 and concluded in the fall of 2014. Here is the link to the USOC’s ADM
Of course the recent release of the USA Weightlifting Safe Sport Initiative along with our own ADM model can be found right on the IDAHO LWC web page under Resources. USA Hockey, USA Tennis and USA Swimming are the champions of ADM and Hockey took the first step 13 years ago. USA Weightlifting has borrowed, heavily, from USA Hockey as we believe that their approach is sound and has proven results.
Recent studies have shown that youth athletes are burning out before they have a chance to excel. They travel too much, compete too much, do not get a chance to rest and recover and the focus is on results, rather than performance. Sports Specialization at a young age results in not only injury but a ‘cap’ on athletic performance.
A recent student compiled by the Indonesian Weightlifting Federation tracked the progress of 33 medal winning athletes, ages 16-17, from the Youth Olympic Games in 2010 through the end of 2013. Each Lifters progress was recorded. There was a 52% dropout rate over this time period. 15% of the athletes did not compete after the initial even in 2010. The remaining 48% had an average increase of only 10% over the next three years. The Indonesians are re-evaluating the importance of high level competition for athletes younger than 18 years of age.
Of Course the USA is not Indonesia but the results of their study are worth knowing as we want to have our athletes be safe and have long, productive, careers. Understanding the applications of ADM as it relates to youth athletes can help us achieve these outcomes.