SDI Sport Development International SDI
The Sport Training Optimization Experts
Development: The Child & Junior Athlete Path to Success
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: My child focuses only on one or two sports and do not see the point in practicing a broader variety of activities. How can I convince her?
A: It is sometimes difficult indeed, and you may never convince her. There is nothing wrong in liking a particular sport at an early stage, it is actually quite normal. You might wish to explain her that practicing other sports will make her stronger and better in her chosen sport later on, by emphasizing fun, safety and specifically a longer, happier life altogether you may get her attention. At the end of the day we must keep in mind what the ancient Greeks were saying about education: "Developing a healthy mind in a healthy body". As coaches and parents, we do not train champions initially... We train better athletes Human Beings. There is certainly more fun and enjoyment in the multiplicity than in self-restriction.
Q2: Are there specific sports better to practice to be better in a specific sport at later stages?
A: Train a better all round athlete first. From there things will take care of themselves with continuity and coherence in the development. The constituting elements of our programs are inspired by many different sports such as: gymnastics, track & field, general fitness, all adapted to the group age we address in a particular program and in progression.
Q3: Some of my athletes come at the puberty stage and missed out multilateral development in the earlier stage. Is it too late?... Shall I refuse them?
A: No! Some of these kids may have natural abilities and will catch up easily, some may not. For the kids who missed out and lack a stronger base, you can bring them close to the other athletes in adapting some practice and allowing some extra training under guidance to level them up. In some rare cases it will not be possible, but if motivation is kept high with positive reinforcement and care, most kids will get there. Nonetheless, it should not become a burden and a chore for neither the athletes, the coach or the supportive parents. Fun is always the paramount issue. Make it fun, enjoyable and not competition oriented.
Q4: I noticed that the programs are designed by rather long segments extending through years. Can we split the programs payments accordingly?
A: Yes! For example the Initiation Development Phase extends over a 4 years span. It can be purchased one year at a time or in one block. The same goes for the other stages or programs.
Q5: Can we get counseling on the best possible sports for our children to practice according to their personal abilities?
A: Yes definitively! It is part of the feedback you will get throughout the programs as young athletes will be periodically tested on various biomotor abilities achievements. We should get a narrower view on respective capacities towards puberty time. Anyway as time passes, young athletes with a broad multilateral development will of course tend to like and focus more in the activities they are best. to be aware of this, we need to offer them a wide choice again so they will not miss out on their talent. In turn, this will bring more fun, and and increase motivation to perfect skills. By the age of 15 or 16 it will become pretty obvious where the young athlete should orientate him/herself.
Q6: Is there any guarantee my child will be a pro athlete after following all these programs?
A: Unfortunately, no! We wish there would be if such is the objective, but it is a long path indeed and many different things are meant to happen along the road. One important mistake to avoid is: focusing on developing a champion. Putting too much stress on the child, coaches and parents is a sure recipe for failure. Moreover, it is not fair for any of the parties, specifically the young athlete whose future will be a stake. If the chain of development has no missing links towards the end of the specialization stage, then chances to get through the High Performance Phase in the chosen sport will be much higher. But again: this is not the ultimate goal. One must keep in mind that once the young athlete made it through all the stages, mostly injury free, and with his/her motivation intact and finally reaches the High Performance development stage; this is where actually everything starts, and the path is still long. Statistically, considering 1,000 young athletes at High School / College level, 1 or 2 will make it as an elite athlete. We must keep on track, provide for what can be taken care of and leave alone what is out of our hands. We can draw here an analogy with martial arts: In most instances, the focus of the martial artist is to obtain the revered "black belt". Once achieved, many fail to realize that it is actually just the very beginning of the path, it is the very beginning of a new journey, a license to learn. Anyway, as Bruce Lee once famously said: "In the best case scenario in a fight, the belt will just hold your pants".
Q7: What is the position of Sport Development International on performance enhancing drugs?
A: We are totally against their use in any circumstances. We believe that
they belong to the artificial world which has been created to entertain the
masses. They satisfy the desire of an hypothetical quick fix on induced
failures. If we take a scientific approach to this problem plaguing sport
for decades, we realize reading through the expert literature that in most
instances, the drugs are taken by the athletes not to enhance performance in
the first place but rather facilitate the recovery between intense and
voluminous training sessions or competition. We believe that if athletes
would follow a complete progressive multilateral development from early
childhood all the way to high performance, where training will be thoroughly
periodized and progressively systematized, there would be no need and use
for these drugs. The superiority of this training approach has already been
tested in the former Eastern Bloc countries where indeed and for political
reasons, performance enhancing drugs were used to guarantee a maximum success
ratio in top competitions, mainly for
propaganda purposes. Nonetheless, there is little doubt today since the fall
of the USSR and its satellite countries, the Eastern Europe athletes would
certainly have won most of their glory without the drugs so advanced were
their sport science knowledge and training systems. We at Sport
Development International, believe that a multilateral approach for
young athletes development combined at later stages with a systematic periodization
approach of the training is the antidote to the fallacy of performance
enhancement through illegal substances.
Q8: We are living far away from sport facilities and my children are therefore not able to participate in a program. Moreover, the cost of the specialized equipment involved is also a deterrent.
A: Most programs will develop motor skills through game like drills and simple exercises which can be performed in a park, backyard, basement and do not need a big money investment nor much space to practice. It is not much equipment based, and most of the equipment needed can be made at home. You can make your own mat or use an old family one. You can build your own low hurdles with left over wood or with PVC plumber tubes. You can even make your own medicine balls with car tire tubes and sand... Simple cost effective resources are limiteless!
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Sport Development International, 2007, 2008