Child To Champion LTAD Conference 2019


We are very pleased to be able to bring the Child To Champion LTAD Conference for it’s third edition in the UK, providing an unmissable opportunity to learn, share and connect with leaders in the field.

We have been working very hard for the last 6 months or so to pull together a group of speakers that are working at the coalface of LTAD / Youth Strength & Conditioning to share with you their methods and experiences to help you in your own practise.

This year’s event is being held at Hartpury University just outside Gloucester. As one of the leading sports universities in the country this provides us with a fantastic base and facilities to host the event, building on what we have offered before.

Outlined below are the talks and overviews. As it stands we are still finalising some of the speakers and talks so there are still some to be added.

In addition to this we have out Future Leaders programme that has had some outstanding applications this year, it is going to be a really tough job for the Proformance S&C Faculty to decide who to choose!

A big thank you also to our sponsors for their support of this years conference: Nutrition XStrength of SciencePUSH

Speakers – Saturday 27th July

Dr. Joe Eisenmann

Historical Perspectives on LTAD

The concept of long-term athlete development (LTAD) is not new. Understanding the history of a topic gives us access to the laboratory of human experience so that we can learn from past experiences – good and bad. This presentation will provide deeper insight and critique into LTAD concepts born out of former Soviet bloc with application of the underpinnings to contemporary sport academies and national and local grassroot efforts at improving the youth sport experience.

The Adolescent Speed Bump: History, Assessment & Impact on Performance

The process of growth and maturation occupy the first two decades of life. A major event during this time is the adolescent growth spurt. If you are working with adolescent athletes it is critical to understand this process and it’s impact.

In this presentation the following questions will be addressed: What does growth at adolescence look like? What factors affect maturation? How can we assess maturation? How does growth at adolescence impact performance? How do we control for maturation when testing/monitoring? What is the role of ‘bio-banding’?

Ruth Waghorn – Understanding The Place Of Speed Work in Team Sport Athlete Development

During this part-theory, part-practical session Ruth will explore the importance of speed work in the development in youth athletes. She will cover its place within the team sport program, a toolbox for coaches, what to look for when we are coaching, and how to problem solve common technical issues seen in youth athletes.

Learn more about Ruth Waghorn in her #SpeakerProfile

Neil Parsley – The UTS Youth Academy: Fun, Energy and Learning From Loads of Mistakes

During this presentation Neil will highlight his 3 tier system that sees over 100 children coached weekly at the Underground Training Station (UTS) Youth Academy. He will also highlight key factors in the development of the academy, the different types of sessions and activities available including S&C, calisthenics and boxing, as well as mistakes made along the way as they sought to engage a wide range of young people not just talented young athletes looking to progress into elite sport.

Kevin Mannion – Developing Players for Gloucester Rugby: Bringing Parents & Players To The Table

During the past 4 years Kev has been working in the Academy programme at Gloucester Rugby and with his team they have implemented a unique programme to develop the person as much as the athlete/player, along the ‘Rocky Road’ to progressing to the professional level.

During this talk he will be discussing:

  • The concept of ‘The Performance Dining Table’
  • How do we influence those sat at it?
  • Working in partnership with parents
  • Periodised challenge through the ‘Rocky Road’
  • Creating a Gloucester Rugby Player – Warrior, Thinker, Doer
  • The Off Field Development Programme

Learn more about Kev Mannion in his #SpeakerProfile

Nico Kolokythas – Promoting Evidence Based Practise In The Traditional Environment

Ballet is an early specialization discipline based on tradition. Young dancers who enter the vocational dance education at 11+ year of age, participate in 19 hours of structured activities/training, that increases to 27-37 hours at the ages 16-19. Movement proficiency, with a limited movement vocabulary, is the priority of the training, whereas the physical preparedness is neglected. Injury prevalence in pre-professional dancers can reach 75%. Most of the injuries are overuse and in the lower limb.

The focus of Nico’s talk will be on the 3-year PhD journey in a vocational ballet school and how applied research can inform practice for the development of the adolescent dancer. Case studies, cross-sectional and randomised controlled studies that have formulated this PhD will be discussed. Finally, the presentation will also discuss management of change in a rigid environment.

Howard Green – Starting The Athletic Journey: Bringing Structure To The Unstructured

In this practical session Howard will be taking you through his approach to starting the athletic development journey with U10s. Many coaches talk about the need for a more unstructured learning/training environment but this can be misinterpreted or leave coaches unsure of what to deliver.

Through his SuperMovers – SMASH programme Howard has created a framework and objectives for developing:

  • Stamina
  • Mobility
  • Agility, Balance, Coordination and Speed
  • Strength & Power – via SuperHeroes
  • Honing Sports Skills

In the practical the focus will be on Howard develops the co-ordination element of the SMASH programme. The session will include activities/exercises to challenge Reactions, Balance, Rhythm, Adaptability, Differentiation, Interoperability, Orientation.

Speakers – Sunday 28th July

Paudie Roche – Olympic Weightlifting For The Youth Athlete

Paudie will be taking attendees through his top down approach to coaching the Olympic Lifts and how to modify the lifts and their derivatives to suit Youth athletes with various dysfunctions. Through the session he will look at teaching the Snatch, Clean and Jerk from the Top Down outlining the various benefits of using this approach and the various phases / derivatives associated with each lift that may be suitable for the athlete you coach.

James Baker – Enhancing LTAD Pathways with Gymnastics & Parkour

Gymnastics and Parkour are two sports that can be incorporated as part of a Long Term Athletic Development pathway that can contribute to developing the all-round athleticism of our athletes in a more creative and free-flowing environment.

In this theory-practical session, James will discuss background research and his rationale for the inclusion of these activities as part of an athletic development pathway and take attendees through a range of practical examples including:

  • Ground Based Movements
  • Bracing
  • Precision Jumping & Landing
  • Rolling
  • Vaulting
  • Climbing
  • Building Athletic Skills Tracks (AST)
  • Utilising AST’s for Assessment

Rich Clarke – Change of Direction Throughout Maturation: A Deeper Look

As part of his PhD Rich is investigating a COD testing battery where through the use of both a 505 test and a linear sprint test we can independently quantify COD ability (via the COD deficit), linear speed and also deceleration ability (via a new deceleration deficit) which allows a much more in depth look at the complex interaction between qualities that contribute to COD performance.

His research is examining how these abilities change throughout maturation. Where large, non-linear increases seen in body mass, stature, eccentric and concentric force production and motor control are occuring throughout the maturation process. What is the impact of the significant changes in this critical stage of development? How does deceleration technique change due to the adjustments required for a heavier and higher centre of mass?

Marcus Hannon – Eating You Out of House & Home: The Unique Energy Requirements of Elite Youth Athletes

Recent research has shown that youth athletes, across a number of sports, have extremely high energy expenditures. It is imperative that youth athletes at least match their energy intake to their expenditure, given the detrimental effects of low energy availability on growth, health and performance. This presentation will cover the most up to date scientific research and will provide some practical advice and strategies that Marcus has used in his practice with youth athletes.

Dr. Joe Eisenmann

Hurricanes, The Stock Market & The Prediction of Future Athletic Ability

Can we predict future athletic ability in youth? Who’s the next target athlete? This presentation will examine concepts and current research in talent identification including genetics, testing and tracking or the stability of athletic traits from child to adolescence and into young adulthood. Lastly, we will consider if we are we doing it right or should we be taking different approaches?

Join a community of like minded professionals at Child to Champion 2019 and learn, share and connect with our speakers during a weekend of immersive learning.

Book your ticket to Child To Champion 2019 here and take advantage of the Early Bird Discount for limited time only

PLUS for the next 5 sign ups get FREE access to our Online Hub up until the conference begins with access to 50 hours of great video content

Already an Online Hub member? Get a further 10% discount on your ticket automatically at the checkout!

Don’t miss out…

Child To Champion 2017 – Full Schedule

Child To Champion 2017 – Full Weekend Schedule

We are pleased to finally be able to confirm the full schedule of talks and practicals for next weekend’s conference. We are very excited to be bringing together 12 top presenters currently working in the UK, Europe, the US and the Middle East delivering 16 sessions (including theory and practical) across the weekend.

This is sure to be a great opportunity to learn and share ideas around the topic of LTAD. We are very excited to meet everyone next weekend.

Big thanks to our partners for the event Exxentric, Train With PUSH, Nutrition X and St. Peter’s R.C. High School that have all helped make this event possible.

If you are yet to book on to the conference, but are planning on attending there are a very limited number of tickets are remaining. Book your tickets here.


Des Ryan - Arsenal FC

Child To Champion – Speaker Focus: Des Ryan

An Insight to The Arsenal Physical Development Framework

Des will be providing an insight to the Physical Development Framework he has developed and implemented with his team over the last four years at the Arsenal Academy

The talk will provide attendees a detailed insight to the programme and processes in place at the Academy including:

  • The development of the facilities at the Academy
  • Building and developing a sport science team
  • Physical Development Framework Levels
  • The player-coach relationship
  • Application of the FMS system as a screening tool
  • Tackling flexibility and mobility issues around PHV.
  • Strength training progressions – A 4 level system.
  • Speed and power development
  • Integrated Conditioning
  • Sports Medicine and Injury Reports & Monitoring

Des Ryan – MSc, ASCC, BASES (HPSA), CSci   

Des joined Arsenal in February 2013 after a successful strength and conditioning career in the rugby world. Des is the Head of Sport Medicine and Athletic Development at the Academy. Over the last four years the Academy sport science and medicine department  has grown under the guidance of Des to rival any club in the premier league. The Academy has continued its long tradition of developing players for the first team. Des and his team endeavour to prepare the players physically for the challenge of the Premier League.

In the past Des worked for the IRFU as fitness education manager and his responsibilities involved managing the Continued Professional Development (CPD) programme for IRFU strength and conditioning coaches and managing the fitness development structures for rugby players in under-19 sides and below. Before that, Des worked as head fitness advisor at Connacht Rugby from 1998 to 2008. During this time he had worked with the Ireland A rugby team for three years and assisted with the Ireland senior team.

Des has completed a Masters in Strength and Conditioning and is also a tutor with the IRFU and a tutor trainer with World Rugby. In 2016 Des completed the BASES high performance sport accreditation. He has a keen interest in the area of long-term player development and has presented at many conferences around the world over the last few years.

Book tickets for Child to Champion 2017 and hear more from John Radnor

If you want to be there to learn, share and connect with our speakers like John you can book on to Child To Champion 2017 here and take advantage of the PUSH Special offer which currently includes access to last years videos (worth £150) courtesy of our sponsors PUSH for a limited time only.

Child To Champion – Future Leader Focus: Shane Fitzgibbon

Core Training from Elementary to Elite

There will be brief Powerpoint introduction on the subject of Trunk training, which will explain the importance of this topic, and how it pertains to ALL other areas of training. In particular, the subject of correct breathing will be covered, as well as a logical progression of core exercises that the delegates can use as a template in your future sessions.

The hands-on session will include a number of exercises designed to develop core stability, and will also engage the athletes, young and old, through gameplay and partner-interaction. You will learn how a simple ping-pong ball can replace untold reps of push-ups and planks, how wheel-barrow races can both challenge simple anti-rotation stability for the novice child right up to neural challenges for the elite athlete. Crawling patterns will be covered to show how they can develop both core stability, and also compliment  locomotion training (speed & agility). You will laugh, learn, sweat and burn in this hands-on.


Shane is a Strength and Conditioning coach, based in Galway, Ireland. He is also a 7th degree Black Belt (Master) Taekwon-Do instructor and a 6-time World Champion in Taekwon-Do & Kickboxing.

Holder of a B.Sc. from National University of Ireland, Galway, Shane has always had a passion for exercise, and qualified as a gym instructor with ITEC in 2001. In the years that followed, Shane has been busy coaching his martial arts students as well teams and individuals from other sports. Besides obtaining National Certificate in Strength & Conditioning, Shane is Functional Movement Screening (FMS) certified and a member of the prestigious Register of Exercise Professionals Ireland (REPS Ireland). Shane is, also, a member, in good standing, of the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA)

Shane coaches numerous adults, and has a particular vocation for coaching young athletes. He was voted International Youth Coach of the Year 2015, by the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA), making history as the first winner outside of North America.

In 2012, Shane authored the highly acclaimed book, “Training and Optimal Health for Sports”, which is available from Amazon, and the dedicated site In it, he has shared more than twenty years of experience, training and competing at the highest levels of his sport, as well as the secrets of his longevity, not having retired from competition until 38, a double World Champion that year.

Having a passion for working with other S&C coaches and P.E. teachers, Shane has conducted workshops for the NSCA in Colorado Springs, Limerick Institute of Technology S&C Degree Course, and the Physical Education Association of Ireland (PEAI), amongst others.

In 2015/2016, Shane, frustrated with the deterioration of Physical Literacy across all age groups of children, ran a year-long voluntary pilot programme with a local Primary School. The project received much acclaim and was televised. It can be seen here


Book tickets for Child to Champion 2017 and hear more from Shane Fitzgibbon

If you want to be there to learn, share and connect with our speakers like Shane you can book on to Child To Champion 2017 here and take advantage of the PUSH Early Bird Special offer which currently includes FREE access to last years videos (worth £150) courtesy of our sponsors PUSH for a limited time only.


#ChildToChampion – Future Leader Focus: John Radnor

The Influence of Growth and Maturation on Muscle Architecture and Physical Performance.

Overview – Throughout childhood and adolescence, children are able to jump higher and sprint faster, but do we know the specific mechanisms behind these improvements in power output?

The aim of this talk is to discuss how the alterations in muscle architecture that occur during maturation can influence children’s ability to produce explosive force. The presentation will include an overview of the role muscle architecture plays in influencing performance, and will revolve around early findings from my PhD studies, investigating the influence of muscle architecture on sprinting and jumping performance in young athletes.



John is an associate lecturer in strength and conditioning on the BSc Sports Conditioning, Rehabili​tation and Massage (SCRAM) degree at Cardiff Metropolitan University. He is an accredited coach through the UK Strength and Conditioning Association (UKSCA), and currently works with Welsh Rowing as S&C for their high performance and academy squads. He has also delivered a number of workshops to various National Governing Bodies on youth strength and conditioning related topics. John is also undertaking a PhD in Paediatric Exercise Science, investigating the effects of muscle architecture on performance.

Book tickets for Child to Champion 2017 and hear more from John Radnor

If you want to be there to learn, share and connect with our speakers like John you can book on to Child To Champion 2017 here and take advantage of the PUSH Early Bird Special offer which currently includes FREE access to last years videos (worth £150) courtesy of our sponsors PUSH for a limited time only.

#ChildToChampion – Future Leader Focus: Matt Depledge

The Application of Growth & Maturation in Academy Football

Talk Overview:

During this presentation Matt will highlight why understanding growth & maturation and the impact it can have on performance is critical within an Academy football setting. He will then explain non-invasive methods that can be used to accurately ascertain an individual’s maturity status.

Following this he will give examples from his time at Southampton FC highlighting how such information can be used to influence training practice and exercise prescription. He will highlight how such an approach can help each individual, regardless of maturity status achieve their potential.



Matt is an Academy Strength & Conditioning Coach at Southampton FC. He is UKSCA Accredited & holds a Masters degree in Paediatric Exercise & Health and a bachelors degree in English & Sports Science.

Matt has extensive experience working with youth athletes from a wide variety of sports including Rugby, Rowing & Cricket. Matt is passionate about youth athletic development & in particular how quantifying maturity status can optimise individual development.

Book tickets for Child to Champion 2017 and hear more from Matt Depledge

If you want to be there to learn, share and connect with our speakers like Matt you can book on to Child To Champion 2017 here and take advantage of the PUSH Early Bird Special offer which currently includes FREE access to last years videos (worth £150) courtesy of our sponsors PUSH for a limited time only.

Youth S&C Lecture Slides

Youth S&C Lecture Slides

Last week James headed out across the country to Fulham FC and Northumbria University to deliver a series of lectures and practical sessions looking at the application of Youth S&C within a secondary school setting.

You can check out the slides from the lecture which covered:

  • Current Issues in Youth Sport
  • Early Specialisation
  • PE Provision
  • Physical Literacy
  • The Physical Decline in Youth Populations
  • Current Youth S&C Research
  • Applying the research to build an LTAD System

Following the lecture the groups headed out on to the fantastic indoor track facility at Northumbria University to get practical for a Speed and Agility session that covered key areas for developing these components utilising Movement Games that are utilised in the Elite Performance Pathway system.

The practical included:

  • Underpinning Strength & Power Components
  • The PAL Paradigm – Posture, Arm Action & Leg Action
  • An integrated approach to the warm up
  • Acceleration basics
  • Movement Games to challenge specific movements – hip turn, directional step, lateral shuffle and cutting.

If you like the sound of the lecture and practical James will be delivering a similar theory and practical session at the Child To Champion conference in April. At present you can get access to the full weekend conference, pre-conference workshop and FREE access to all of last years videos courtesy of Train with PUSH through their Special Early Bird Ticket but there are only a few of these tickets remaining.

#ChildToChampion’s Pete Atkinson – Pacey Performance Podcast

#ChildToChampion’s Pete Atkinson – Pacey Performance Podcast

With the conference fast approaching we thought you might like to check out this episode of the Pacey Performance Podcast with one of our Child To Champion Speakers, Pete Atkinson, National Lead for S&C at the ECB. Pete has vast experience working in rugby at Leicester Tigers through one of their most successful periods in history as well as the English Institute of Sport and now with the ECB.

In this episode you will learn –

  • Who is Pete Atkinson (background, experience and current role)
  • The ECB’s internal CPD programme
  • Transfer of training
  • Coordination training

At Child To Champion Pete will be providing a detailed insight to the ECB’s Pace Programme from this season’s winter training. You can check out the full talk overview here.

Book tickets for Child to Champion 2017 and hear from Pete Atkinson

If you want to be there you can book on to Child To Champion 2017 here and take advantage of the early bird pricing which includes FREE access to the pre-conference workshop.

Conference sponsors PUSH have put together a brilliant offer that includes the Full Weekend Conference ticket PLUS access last year’s Child To Champion conference videos (worth £150) completely free of charge. This offer is only available  for a limited time, so don’t miss out!

#ChildToChampion’s Alex Natera – Pacey Performance Podcast

Alex Natera

#ChildToChampion’s Alex Natera – Pacey Performance Podcast

With the conference fast approaching (we are now less than 2 months out!) we thought we’d share some great content from some of our speakers from around the web.

As most in the S&C industry are, we are big fans of Rob Pacey’s Strength of Science and the Pacey Performance Podcast, it’s absolute gold for learning from leaders in the field.

A while back Rob interviewed Alex Natera across two episodes on the podcast, and for those attending Child To Champion this will give you a taste of what is to come from Alex’s talks at the conference in April.

In the episodes you will learn –

Part 1

  • Who is Alex Natera (background/education)
  • What Alex is doing now and who he is working with
  • Developing a sprint programme – where to start
  • Developing horizontal vs vertical force
  • Transfer of training from weight room to track/field

Part 2

  • How ‘repeated power’ differs from power endurance
  • Why this ISN’T CrossFit
  • What has been researched in the area
  • How can we train repeated power ability
  • Where is the research area heading and what does Alex expect to find

Book tickets for Child to Champion 2017 and hear from Alex Natera

If you want to be there you can book on to Child To Champion 2017 here and take advantage of the early bird pricing which includes FREE access to the pre-conference workshop on Friday 7th for the first 20 people that book.

Child To Champion – Speaker Focus: Dr. Mike Young

Mike Young Athletic Lab

Means and Methods for Eccentric Training 

The eccentric capacities of an athlete are increasingly being recognized for their importance in injury reduction and sports performance. Coach Mike Young will present a variety of options for developing eccentric strength and power that he has used over the years. He will provide progressions that can be employed depending on the capacity and development of the athlete and discuss how eccentric training fits in to the annual and long term development plan.

Employing a Newtonian Model for Plyometric Progressions

In this talk, Coach Mike Young will discuss the importance of understanding the basic physics of plyometrics. Coaches will be provided an easy-to-digest mechanical model that can be applied to the development of plyometric progressions. Using this model, coaches can take the guess work out of jumps training and provide a safe and pedagogically sound training stimulus for athletes across the developmental continuum.


Mike brings the unique qualities of being a nationally recognized researcher, coach, and educator. His depth of knowledge and experience in the field of athletic development is evidenced by his stays at all three U.S. Olympic Training Centers as an athlete (Lake Placid), sport scientist (Colorado Springs & Chula Vista), and coach (Colorado Springs).

Mike has an undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology, an MS in Athletic Administration and a PhD in Biomechanics. Mike has earned NSCA’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, is recognized by USA Weightlifting as a Club and Advanced Sport Performance Coach, a Crossfit Level 1 Certified Trainer, is one of less than 20 USA Track & Field (USATF) Level 3 coaches in the country and has a USATF Level 2 certification in 3 event areas.

Mike has served as the primary coach for national or international team qualifiers for several disciplines in Athletics, as well as Bobsleigh, Skeleton and Weightlifting. In the sport of Track & Field, he has coached or assisted multiple Olympians, National Champions, Masters National and World Champions and Collegiate National Champions. Additionally, he has served as the Strength & Conditioning coach for professionals in a wide range of sports including the NFL, MLB and MLS. He served as the Fitness Coach for the Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS for the 2012 & 2013 seasons. Prior to that, Mike was the sport performance coach for the 2x NASL Champion Carolina Railhawks. Previously, Mike coached Athletics at the NCAA level at 4 Universities, most notably coaching 4 years at LSU where the team won 6 National Championships.

As an educator, Mike has been an instructor or professor at 3 universities and regularly guest lectures for academic institutions around the world. He is one of the most sought after speakers in the world on athletic development having spoken in Korea, the UK, Ireland, China, Japan, Jamaica, Canada in addition to the US. He has developed and taught curriculums for US Police Forces, USA Track & Field, and USA Weightlifting. Additionally, Mike is a prolific author, having written 2 book chapters, 2 books, and over 20 articles published in nationally distributed publications ranging from Maxim to Runner’s World.  He is regularly featured on websites as far ranging as ESPN, BBC, WebMD and Greatist. Mike is equally qualified as a sport scientist and coach educator. His research on sprinting, stretching, balance and throwing activities have been published and presented in Regional, National and International journals and conferences and he is an invited editor for the Journal of Sports Sciences and Sports Biomechanics.

Book tickets for Child to Champion 2017 and meet Dr. Mike Young

If you want to be there to learn, share and connect with our speakers like Mike you can book on to Child To Champion 2017 here and take advantage of the early bird pricing which includes FREE access to the pre-conference workshop on Friday 7th for the first 20 people that book.