Long Term Athletic Development

Posted: October 3, 2018

This past week on September 27 marked the 10th anniversary of “The Promise” speech made by Tim Tebow.  See it here and what it meant:

That got me thinking.  What’s one of the most celebrated athletes in college history and former NFL quarterback doing these days?  Well, he’s been a professional baseball player in the New York Mets organization for the past few years.  How can he pull that off you may ask?  Long Term Athletic Development (LTAD) and non – specialization of his youth sports.

Most people don’t know that Tim Tebow was offered professional try outs with both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim way back in 2005 while he was in high school.  Other examples of multi - sport athletes include stars like Chris Carpenter (baseball, hockey), Bo Jackson (football, baseball), and Michael Jordan (basketball, baseball).  Did you know that Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine was once drafted by the LA Kings.  Even Tom Brady was drafted by the Montreal Expos before becoming the NFL superstar he is today.

What all the above great athletes have in common is that they all played multiple sports in their younger age.  They did not fall into the trap of “early-specialization” that we so often see in youth sports today.  At Compete, we encourage the LTAD model so that young athletes can learn to move properly and safely.  By increasing the athlete’s physical literacy we can help reduce the chance of injury as they develop.  By encouraging the athlete’s to play multiple sports we can also reduce the chance of burn out so that they may enjoy sports for years to come. 

Maybe you can be the next Chris Drury who as a child won the Little League World Series and then grew up to win the NHL’s Stanley Cup!  OK, so the odds may be stacked against you but it’s not impossible. That I promise.


Mike Hannegan is currently an Athletic Trainer in the National Hockey League and at Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest, CA.