USA Baseball Releases Long Term Athlete Development Plan

Plan Includes scientifically driven, age appropriate guidelines for amateur baseball player development

DURHAM, N.C. - USA Baseball announced on Wednesday the release of its Long Term Athlete Development Plan (LTAD) for the sport of baseball in the United States. Supported by Major League Baseball (MLB), the LTAD provides a multi-stage developmental pathway for an individual's lifelong experience within the sport, with the ultimate goals of increasing participation, aiding in performance and enhancing enjoyment across the sport of baseball.
The LTAD plan is a culmination of evidence-based information from a contributing group of leading sport scientists, along with input from an interdisciplinary leadership group consisting of experts from the medical safety industry, MLB league and club executives, and an advisory group inclusive of leaders from across the amateur baseball landscape.
"USA Baseball conducted a multi-faceted audit of the amateur marketplace in 2014 and identified several challenges facing the amateur game, most notably the lack of coaching education, lack of structured guidance throughout a player's childhood and adolescence, and the increasing costs of participation," said Rick Riccobono, USA Baseball's Chief Development Office. "Additional challenges included early single sport specialization, year-round play, and the disproportionate ratio between development and competition. This data served as a launching pad for the LTAD process."
The LTAD aims to offer solutions for the entire baseball community, namely:
• Enhancing all participants' experience within the sport
• Promoting age-appropriate physical literacy and psychosocial development
• Underscoring best practices for player health and safety, including postponement of single sport specialization
• Encouraging age-appropriate skill development progression
• Prolonging individual engagement through improved infrastructure
• Promoting life-long engagement through mentoring and recreational play
The LTAD recognizes the need to involve all amateurs in the developmental pathway and is made up of a seven-stage framework that builds upon itself. An athlete can enter into the pathway at any point through his or her progression. Each stage in the LTAD is categorized by a chronological age group; however, the LTAD emphasizes the need to assess each individual athlete's skill sets in order to determine his or her pathway needs. The parameters of the stages set forth in the LTAD are meant as general guidelines rather than categorical constraints, and may vary depending on the individual athlete's physical and emotional maturation.
This framework also allows for athletes to begin an "Advanced Track" within the "Develop" Stage for 14- to 16-year-olds. Advanced athletes are those who show a high level of aptitude in the sport at their given age. The "Advanced Track" is a pathway of development that allows for athletes to direct more time and energy to training and competition for their high-level progress in the game.
"On behalf of the working group, we feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with leaders from all across amateur baseball, in order to provide the scientific content to this important project," said Joseph Myers, Ph.D., ATC, Director of Baseball Performance Science for the Tampa Bay Rays and the LTAD Group Working Chair. "This collaboration resulted in a program that provides players, coaches, parents, and fans with a positive, fulfilling experience where talents can be maximized, healthy levels of fitness can be achieved, and ultimately the sport of baseball can be enjoyed for their entire lifetime."
The LTAD can be found at, or by accessing the USA Baseball Online Education Center at USABaseball.Education.