Proformance S&C LTAD Pathway FREE Video!

We’ve recently launched the Proformance LTAD Pathway through our LTAD Hub. It is an incredible resource for anyone interested in LTAD. At present it includes our Foundation Phase curriculum. With our Development and Performance Phases to be available to purchase next year.

Our aim through the LTAD Hub is to help Academies, Schools, Clubs and Private Gym owners build and develop their LTAD Pathways. Our coaches have years of experience developing Long Term Athletic Development programmes to optimise the physical development of young athletes in a range of settings including private sector training facilities, state and independent secondary schools and for National Centres of Excellence.

Within the member’s you can access the newly developed Proformance LTAD Pathway that will provide a progressive 3-stage curriculum for developing young athletes. Helping you to build your athletes from the ground up with engaging content and systematic training progressions that can be applied in any setting, with some open space and the standard strength and conditioning equipment.

Check out this video below from our recent Integrated LTAD workshop where Proformance S&C Director James Baker provides an introduction to our athlete development pathway along with its aims, objectives and outcomes.

Join us and our growing network of clubs, schools, academies and private gym facilities around the world by subscribing now!

Alternatively, contact us to arrange a demo and discuss how we can help you in your mission to develop your LTAD Pathway

Child To Champion 2019 #SpeakerFocus – Kevin Mannion



Kev is currently the Academy Performance Manager at Gloucester Rugby and has been lucky enough to work at some of the UK’s top sporting organisations with some great players over close to 20 years as both a professional athlete and S&C coach. Kev has previously worked at Wigan Warriors, British Tennis and Leicester Tigers.

The landscape for developing athletes has definitely changed in 20 years, but the outcomes each system wants are the same: talented, adaptable, robust (physically / emotionally), athletes that have the ability to continue and enhance the cultural legacy of their Academy Programs, and subsequently transition into senior environments and have long careers in Professional Sport.

Content Overview

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 the talk he will be discussing:

  • What does the ‘Performance Dining Table’ look like? 
  • How do we influence those sat at it?
  • Working in partnership with parents
  • Psychological Characteristics of Developing Excellence
  • Implementing the ‘Rocky Road’ through Periodised Challenge
  • Creating A Gloucester Rugby Player – Warrior, Thinker, Doer
  • The Off Field Development Programme

Book tickets for Child to Champion 2019 and hear more from Kev Mannion and many more…

If you want to be there to learn, share and connect with our speakers like Kev you can book on 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 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!

Alex Natera

Child to Champion – Speaker Focus: Alex Natera

When we began planning Child To Champion 2017 one of the first people I spoke to was Alex Natera, we are really excited to have him join us to present on 3 topics across the weekend which will now also include a pre-conference workshop on Friday 7th April 2017, full details will be confirmed this week.

I’ve been fortunate to spend quite a lot of time over the last year talking to Alex and his colleagues out at the Aspire Academy in Qatar as we’ve been sharing ideas around LTAD and Talent Identification.

If you’ve not heard Alex talk yet, I’d highly recommend checking out the two podcasts he has done with Rob Pacey on the Pacey Performance Podcast – Episode 44 (Part 1) & Episode 45 (Part 2). There is some fantastic content in the discussions and the episodes will give you a great insight of what to expect from Alex at the conference this year alongside the overviews of his upcoming talks below.

The development of discrete muscle actions in the running based athlete- eccentric and isometric training options (Practical Session)

Traditional resistance training, where the successful execution of the concentric portion of the lift is the primary focus, can often under train and therefore under develop the isometric and eccentric muscle actions associated with many sporting demands. In this practical we’ll look at how to emphasise these discrete muscle actions in the development and physical preparation for running based tasks. The technical considerations, progressions and why, how and when to implement each exercise will be discussed throughout this workshop.  The content within this practical will include video, live demonstrations and an opportunity to perform the exercises.

From the MSSD Program through to Rio- Filling in the Physical Literacy “gap” – Training to Train and Training to Compete the Aspire Academy way (Presentation)

In this presentation the Aspire Academy youth development model will be explained from pre-Academy entry to Olympic Games qualification. The world over is facing similar issues in the growing “gap” in youth physical literacy. The presentation starts by looking at the ways we try to bridge this gap in primary schools through our Multi Sport Skill Development Program. An overview of the successful Aspire Academy development model will then be explained from inception to graduating into the scholarship system, and our unprecedented representation at Rio. Specific reference to our philosophy on strength & conditioning and the model that we follow will be discussed along with the many lessons learnt and the continual reflection that has changed our “model”- to be less of a “model”.

Strength and power development in the elite student athlete- the practical application of strength programmes in an elite youth academy (Presentation)

This presentation examines the real life application of programming strength and power development in elite student athlete, with a particular focus on the speed, strength, power athletes. A thorough look at the decision-making processes around programming through the later adolescent stages and how to balance holistic development with performance training. An in depth looks at the KPI’s and strength and power targets are discussed and a look at what happens when targets are met or surpassed. Case studies and the results of various programmes are presented and discussed throughout.

I’m sure you’ll agree the proposed talks sound fantastic and both myself and Mike are really excited to hear Alex presenting.

If you want to be there too 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 for the first 20 people that book.


Child To Champion 2016 Online Videos

Back in April we ran the incredibly successful Child To Champion 2016 LTAD Conference which brought together some real leaders in the field of S&C to discuss all things related to the topic of Long Term Athlete Development. Speakers across the weekend presented their work from various stages of the developmental continuum right from primary & secondary schools through to professional academies and elite international sport.

Now you can catch up on a fantastic set of lectures from the conference from Mike Young (Athletic Lab/Proformance), Simon Brundish (UK Strength Lab), Tom Rusga (EIS), Kevin Paxton (Leicester City FC), Shayne Murphy (Manchester City FC), James Baker (St. Peter’s High School/Proformance) and Neill Potts (Scottish Rugby Union).

The video series is now available to purchase online here:

Below you can check out the trailer and what a few attendees had to say about the conference:

“Huge thanks to the Proformance team for collaborating leaders within long term athlete development. Child To Champion 2016 was exceptional CPD” – Tulshi Varsani

“Child To Champion 2016 conference did not disappoint! One of the best CPD events yet!” – Mark Read, Academy Conditioning Coach. Malmo FF, Sweden.

“Amazing weekend at the Child To Champion 2o16 Conference, lots of exciting stuff to put into play. Time to start the revolution” Ben Weaver.

Child To Champion 2016: LTAD Conference from Proformance Network on Vimeo.

We are busy working on pulling together the conference for 2017 be sure to keep an eye out for details of the conference in the coming months.

Historic Performance Podcast #62 – James Baker

This past week Proformance S&C’s James Baker was interviewed on the Historic Performance Podcast with James Darley about his work in Youth Athletic Development at St. Peter’s R.C. High School in Gloucester, England.

At the school he has created and integrated a long term athlete development system – the Elite Performance Pathway (EPP) – into the state school Physical Education curriculum.

The EPP is a unique program that has re-defined what can be offered by state secondary schools. Athletes are provided with high quality strength and conditioning, hands-on nutrition lessons, applied psychological preparation workshops, lifestyle and injury management.

In this episode, James talks about the EPP philosophy, performance testing for development stage athletes ranging from 14 to 16 years of age, and annual strength & conditioning planning.

Overview of Podcast Episode

Here is a brief outline of what they covered in the show –

  • James’s Background + S&C Journey
  • Creating the EPP program at St. Peter’s R.C. High School
  • The EPP Philosophy
  • Annual planning and structure for development athletes (14-16 years)
  • Performance testing & evolution of the process
  • Data collection to validate programs
  • Future of PE in England
  • Recommendations of PE Teachers + S&C coaches wanting to work with high school athletes
  • How to contact?

You can listen to the full episode of the podcast here and if you have an interest in learning more about training young athletes you may also want to check out the online video series from the 2016 Child To Champion LTAD Conference.



#ChildToChampion LTAD Conference 2016 Highlights

CTC Mail List

#ChildToChampion LTAD Conference 2016 Highlights


Just under a month ago we were joined from coaches from across the UK and Europe for the Child To Champion LTAD Conference at St. Peter’s R.C. High School in Gloucester.

The weekend was a fantastic learning experience providing an opportunity to learn, share and connect with leaders from the field of strength & conditioning working at all levels of the athletic development continuum.

The video below provides a superb snapshot in to the weekend and the mixture of theoretical and practical sessions that took place.

A huge thanks must go to everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to attend the event, the phenomenal speakers and our sponsors Exxentric, Nutrition-X and Perform Better who all played their part in making it a huge success.

You’ll be pleased to know we are already in the planning process for Child To Champion 2017 but in the mean time, if you missed this years event, you can now catch up through the online video series available through our On Demand Service. Check out the highlights reel below.

Child To Champion 2016: LTAD Conference from Proformance Network on Vimeo.

#ChildToChampion: James Baker – Integrating S&C to Secondary Schools

#ChildToChampion: James Baker – Integrating S&C to Secondary Schools

Back in September I managed to get my first article published in the UKSCA‘s Professional Strength and Conditioning Journal providing an insight to the LTAD system I have developed and implemented with the help of my colleagues at St. Peter’s R.C. High School in Gloucester, the host venue for the Child To Champion LTAD Conference.

Certainly in the UK, strength and conditioning in schools is still a developing area. It is quite well established in the independent sector with many schools adding S&C coaches to their full time staff, and those guys are doing some outstanding work furthering S&C in Schools

In contrast, in the state sector it remains largely under developed which is something I certainly hope will change in the near future as such a large percentage of young people in our country are educated in the state schools – 93% of them in fact!

The article in the UKSCA journal provides an overview of the programme and some case studies of the impact a year round strength and conditioning within the curriculum has had on the pupils enrolled on the Elite Performance Pathway.

The presentation and practical I will be delivering at the conference will be based around the content covered in the article and will hopefully provide a detailed insight into realistic, effective and engaging ways strength and conditioning can be implemented by state schools; with an insight to our programming at the different stages, how we have applied the research, the challenges we have faced and overcome whilst integrating S&C in to the PE curriculum across 5 school years.

You can download the full article below and you can check out the full conference line up & book tickets here

Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 23.06.16

Download the full article here

#ChildToChampion – Future Leaders: Kev Paxton

#ChildToChampion – Future Leaders: Kev Paxton


Last night we took spent some time chatting with Kev Paxton, Head of Academy Sport Science at Leicester City FC, about his upcoming presentation at the Child To Champion LTAD Conference through the Future Leaders Programme.

In the video, Kev gives us an insight to what attendees can expect from his presentation titled: “Age Related Performance Benchmarking” as well as some discussions about how they implement their benchmarking system within the Academy set up.

Are you interested in seeing the full presentation at the conference? You can check out the full schedule (including a FREE Velocity Based Training workshop) and buy tickets here.


Future Leader Confirmed: Kevin Paxton – Leicester City FC

kevinpaxtonLCFCWhen we set out on a mission to build the LTAD conference we also totally committed to offering up and coming coaches in the field of Athletic Development the chance to showcase their work.

We are very pleased to be able to confirm Kevin Paxton from Leicester City FC as our first successful Future Leader applicant.

Mike & I have both checked out the slide deck and I spoke to Kevin last week about his presentation ‘Age-Related Performance Benchmarking’ and it promises to be an excellent presentation showcasing the great work being done at Leicester City FC in their Academy set up. 

Kevin will be providing a detailed insight to what the top young footballers in the country are capable of from a physical stand point across the age groups and how they use the testing data to better inform their programmes and assess the success of the department as a whole.

We are currently working through all the other applications and whilst we initially only had one space lined up we’ve decided to expand it due to the quality of the applicants. The final deadline for applications is this Friday, 19th February.

If you are interested in attending to see Kevin’s presentation along with the other great presenters we still have a limited number of Early Bird Tickets available for the conference which you can book here.


3 BIG reasons why our early LTAD programmes, didn’t make it to the long term!

3 BIG reasons why our early long term athlete development programmes, didn’t make it to the long term!


Long Term Athlete Development is a phrase we hear a lot now.

It’s certainly a phrase I’ve used a lot for the past 8 years, but when I really reflect on the early days of running what we were calling LTAD/Youth S&C programmes, they didn’t make it to the point where they could really be called long term, for a number of reasons.

#1 People didn’t understand S&C / LTAD programmes

People were less aware of S&C back in 2008, what the high level/elite guys were doing was not as visible on social media platforms and there were less people engaged in strength and conditioning. When it came to working with younger athletes I much more frequently encountered the traditional ‘myths’ from concerned parents – “Isn’t that dangerous?” and “Will it stunt their growth?. At times we simply did not get the parental buy-in required to convince them to invest in a long-term programme, so our contact with the athlete may only have been 8 to 10 weeks, limiting the progress that could be made.

#2 Competition with sport-specific training schedules

Getting a regular time slot with a talented athlete in their weekday evenings can be nearly impossible, especially when they perceive their sports-specific training to be the be all and end all of their development.

That evening time slot between 4-7pm was chaotic for most of the teenage boys and girls – it could be any of the following that would need to be negotiated around: schools clubs and fixtures, local clubs and fixtures and representative (e.g. district/county/regional) training and fixtures.

As much as I tried and educate parents and athletes of the value or S&C as well as rest and recovery the pressure to be involved in all the training sessions and games was huge from all the different parties.

The result was less consistency on the physical development process, less progress, working around a great number of injuries or having athletes arriving completely fried at sessions limiting what we could do.

3# I got it wrong!

Something I’ve learnt from my time teaching at school, is that sometimes when something goes wrong in a lesson it can quite often be down to you NOT the pupil or athlete.

When I look back at my involvement in these LTAD programmes and the battle to engage athletes and parents for the long haul, I’m certain I got it wrong, not them. Even though at the time I was couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to train.
The bottom line is, whilst my programmes were effective they didn’t do a lot to excite or enthuse the younger athlete or I hadn’t done a good enough job of helping athletes to understand what we were going to do; why we were doing it, how it was relevant to them and how it was going to help them.

Fortunately, I learnt from my mistakes and I’ve now managed to build a much more successful LTAD programme. So what did I change?

Painting the BIG picture

I began taking more time to educate the athletes and engage with the parents to explain the different stages of our LTAD systems and the relevance of the different aspects of the programme, in a way they could understand and relate to has been a big step forward in improving engagement in our programme. We also tailor our focus points to the recipient of the message.

Rather than talking to kids about the long-term health of their spine as they maintain their neutral spine, I save that conversation for the parents to explain why it’s safe for their daughter to be squatting more than her Dad. Also, we always relate back to the big picture of where similar movements/positions occur in their sports and how the exercise will help them perform better.

Another important part of the big picture is understanding what I call Point B. For each key physical variable – strength, power, speed and agility we paint a clear picture of where they need to get to and what they need to do to get there.

Introducing A Games Based Approach

For me there’s an art to making sessions ‘fun’ and ensuring it’s still achieving some of your important outcomes. What I’ve come to appreciate over the years is that whilst I love pure S&C and getting super geeky about the technical intricacies of squatting, cleaning and snatching, kids often do not!

What I have introduced over the last few years is a game based element to my programmes (especially with the youngest groups) around a foundation of strength work. For example, this week alone our athletes have played tag games, speed games, chase games, relay races and even tackled this Ninja Warrior course:

Whilst on face value it may appear that we are just having fun, the games/play elements are selected because they challenge certain movement patterns in an open environment or a different physical or skill related quality that we aren’t getting from our foundation strength work.

The Impact

The impact of implementing these changes, along with a few others, has been huge. What it has enabled us to do is achieve a much higher level of engagement from the athletes in the programme. At the school I am based at now we have in the region of 120 athletes training regularly each week. With this greater consistency have come better results in the key physical performance elements: strength, power, speed and agility. With better results and the data to evidence it we’ve seen even further engagement and interest in the training process from athletes and their parents.

James will be presenting on his approach to ‘Building An Athletic Foundation’ at the Child to Champion: LTAD Conference on the 9th and 10th April in Gloucester. Where leaders from the field of S&C, including Dr. Mike Young, Dr. Rhodri Lloyd, Dr. Ian Jeffreys and Dr. Neill Potts, are also coming together to present tried and tested systems and training methods that have been successfully applied at all stages of the developmental continuum from primary school right through to the elite international level. Find out more here!