Essential Components of Athlete Development Programs

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When consulting with athletic directors and other sports leaders, I’m often asked to define the key components of the best-in-class athlete development programs. I’ve identified three elements: Curriculum-based Programming, Staff Professional Development and Integration.

Athlete development programming should be developed from a curriculum of topics that reflect the athletes’ developmental levels, identified needs and interests. I believe sport-specific programming is most effective. Obtaining feedback from coaches regarding

 programming topics is a great way to engage them and build support for you and your athletes. Programs that are evaluated ongoing and upon completion provide metrics to evaluate their effectiveness and aid in future planning.

Elite athlete development programs are designed by visionary leaders who possess a diverse skill set, deep understanding of the population, industry research and best practices, and are trained in program development, implementation and evaluation. Championship organizations demonstrate a commitment to staff professional development by investing in ongoing, individualized and department training.

I cannot say enough about the importance of integrating athlete development programs into the larger organization. The benefits include increased communication, collaboration, teamwork and investment in achieving the organization’s mission. Additionally, integration helps to communicate and celebrate the activities and success of the athlete development program.

Curriculum-based Programming, Staff Professional Development and Integration are cornerstones of effective athlete development programs. Are there other components you’ve found successful? Leave a comment below. Also, check out the CONSULTING SERVICES page on our website. We’d love to help you build a championship athlete support program!


NEXT BLOG:  What’s Up with Athletes Pursuing Careers in Athlete Development?

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