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Long-term player development

LTPD is a long-term approach to maximising individual potential and involvement in Rugby. LTPD models highlight the importance of having coaches working with children and youth, who understand the technical, tactical, physical, mental and lifestyle needs of children and young people as they progress along their Rugby journey. LTPD provides a platform for coaches to encourage and support participants at every level of their involvement in the game, to help them fulfil their potential and to remain involved in sport.

Sample LTPD stages

Please note that the example below uses chronological age to define the different stages of the LTPD. Best practice for the earlier stages is to use biological age, as some young players mature earlier than others and some later.

Stage: Fun

Age guide: 6-12

Player : PLAYS

Coach : GUIDES

Content: Learning to move, basic Rugby skills

Stage: Development

Age guide: 12-16



Content: Learning the Game

Stage: Participation

Age guide: 15-18

Player : FOCUSES


Content: Playing the Game, developing the player

Stage: Preparation

Age guide: 17-21



Content: Reaching full potential

Stage: Performance

Age guide: 20 & over



Content: Consistency of performance

Stage: Re-investment

Age: any

Content: Support and enjoyment of the Game


The following sources provide some examples of long-term player development models:

  1. Lloyd, R.S. and Oliver, J.L: The Youth Physical Development Model: a new approach to long term athletic development. Strength and Conditioning Journal 34: 37-43, 2012
  2. Balyi, I. and Hamilton, A.: Long Term Athlete Development: Trainability in Childhood and Adolescence. National Coaching Institute, Victoria, British Columbia and Advanced Training and Performance Ltd., 2004

LTPD models should be developed with specific context in mind. Contact your national Union for more information.