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EvelChat #23 “It’s More About Early Engagement In Great Coaching Than Specialization”: A Chat with James Baker & Tom Crick of Aspire Academy
Episode 237th December 2021 • EvelChat • Derek Evely
00:00:00 01:46:37

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In this podcast Derek gets schooled. It’s a deep dive into the science and practice of Long-Term Athlete Development & Preparation. In particular, we discuss the science & practice around Peak Height Velocity (PHV) and overall implementation of the LTAD principles and progressions. 

James Baker is a sport performance specialist and one of the world’s top experts in Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) and Preparation. He is the Head of National Talent Identification, Senior Strength & Conditioning Coach and Performance Support Lead for Aspire Academy in Dona, Qatar. He is also the co-founder (with Mike Young) of the LTAD Network (, one of the world’s top resources in physical preparation & sport training development for youth.

Tom Crick is the Head of Athletics at Aspire Academy & former Director of Coaching & Athlete Development for Athletics Northern Ireland. Before that he was the Professional Development Manager & Qualifications Manager for British Athletics.


·      Check out

·      Check out:

·      James’ Background

·      What is LTAD?

·      Pathways athletes take in development

·      Importance of proper long term athletic preparation

·      Technical / tactical development vs. physical development

·      Peak Height Velocity (PHV)

·      Parent height vs., predicted height and Pre / Circa / Post PHV

·      Clown shoes and the order that body segments go through PHV 

·      C onsiderations for loading around PHV

·      PHV & Apophysitis

·      Volume of work around growth spurts & PHV

·      Natural Volume Experiments at Aspire

·      Criticism / efficacy around using PHV

·      James’ data around pre / circa / post PHV

·      PHV, Bioband and early / late maturers

·      Practicality around tracking PHV

·      Average Post-PHV age and the start of formal training

·      Keeping Late maturers within the net

·      Basic strength diagnostics and patterns for beginners

·      Producing ‘elite athletes’ vs. any other athlete

·      Organization for coaching developing athletes

·      Why the pressure to succeed demands more competent coaching practice

·      Why ‘Specialization’ is not a dirty word

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