Twitter: Athlete Development

A while back we asked Twitter:

When working with Developmental Athletes, a key focus should be_________


21 People replied. The responses were varied, but interesting. Read below:

Liam Maher

@LiamerZ Movement literacy

Matt Depledge


Fundamental movement skills

Mark Beresford

@Beresford_Mark Technique & education… Tell them why it is beneficial
John Heaton @Heaton2111

Improve the young person’s focus, self awareness & confidence


@ultm8swfans Patience
Mike Vaughn @pm_vaughn

Focus on the process & not the result


@CoachCobie Physical literacy
Scott Gormley @Scott89Gormley


Stuart Guppy


Learning how to train

Isi Schneider

@Isi69Scheider Proper Technique

Emily Martin


Accountability & Creativity in each task. Trial & error to encourage self-awareness & progression.

Dr Martin Toms @DrMartinToms

Recognising their BioPsychoSocial needs.

Nicolai Morris

@Nicolai_Morris Grit & how to compete

Michael Speranza



Jake Jennings @Jake_Jennings1

Integrity, accountability & learning to train

Jade Haycraft

@JadeHaycraft Fun, education, patience & perseverance
Nikki Burger* @Nikki_Burger

Fun, skills focused, low intensity competition

Howard Green


Physical competency

Arran Peck



Will Morgan @WillMorgan4




Grit and Independence


Some observations, queries and thoughts:

  • Less than half (9) of the responses could be categorised as falling into the 'Physical' domain (remember, we're talking about 'athlete development').
  • More than half (13) of the responses suggested the main focus should be Character Development (grit, perseverance, patience, etc.).
  • It appears there should be more in common between developmental programs than differences, regardless of sport.
  • Taking the above point to it's logical conclusion, it should be difficult for the casual observer to identify which sport the program is developing it's participants for.
  • As society 'progresses' so basic movements regress. We must spend more time developing what used to come naturally.
  • It would be interesting to take these answers and match them to the Key Performance Indicators of the Coaches and decision makers in the Athlete Development department at any National Sports Organisation (NSO). Are these Coaches and decision makers on the right track? Or are they being judged on Competition results, Beep Test scores and Push Up tests? (Remember, what gets measured gets done.)
  • On a personal level, are the sports programs that you're coaching, focusing on the same characteristics as these replies? Is your program helping the kids move better, be accountable and show grit? Or are they just sport-specialist, wannabe-adult programs?
  • Do coaching courses, seminars & conferences adequately address developing the tabled characteristics? Or are they too sport-specific, focusing on the technical and tactical aspects of that particular sport? (This is why we created the Junior Sport Science Symposium.)
  • If you have any further comments or questions please feel free to comment, contact us via email or follow us @propelperform

Thanks to those who took the time to send in their replies.

* Nikki Burger also made a great point about ‘being mindful of late developers’.

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