The New Zealand Golf National Development Programme is the pathway that takes New Zealand golfers to success on the international stage. It encompasses specific age and stage appropriate programmes that are geared towards a common objective of developing more New Zealand golfers who achieve success at the highest level on the world stage.
The essence of the programme is to take players who have reached their respective district lead development programmes and further progress and refine their skills based on the Long Term Player Development (LTPD) philosophy and strategies. This will assist them to firstly succeed as amateur golfers on the world stage before then successfully transitioning to professionalism.
The need for a systematic LTPD pathway arises from the challenge of competing in the rapidly advancing international sporting arena. It is both important to correctly identify emerging talent and then invest in their continuing progression to ensure the next generation of New Zealand’s excelling golfers have the skills and experience to compete, and win, internationally.
The national programme’s player development
philosophy is based on Istvan Bayli’s ‘Long Term Athlete Development’ model. Golf Canada’s adaption of the LTAD model for
golf has provided a framework for New Zealand Golf to learn from and adapt to
meet the needs of New Zealand’s aspiring golfers.
Long Term Athlete, or in golfs case ‘Player’, Development (LTPD) is based on sport research, coaching best practices, and scientific principles. LTPD expresses these principles, research, and practices by identifying 10 key factors that are essential to player development. These are:
1. 10-Year Rule (Excellence takes time…)
4. Developmental Age (or simply Age)
6. Physical, Mental, Cognitive and Emotional Development
7. Periodization (or more simply planning / time management)
8. Competition Planning
9. System Alignment and Integration
10. Continuous Improvement (Kaizen)
Golf is a multi-skilled, long term development sport that requires an understanding of the many phases of player development within it to cater appropriately for those that enter the talent and performance pathways. While it could be detrimental to focus on one area of the LTPD factors above at the expense of another, for the benefit of greater awareness, two of the factors have been expanded on below.
They have been expanded to address why the LTPD philosophy provides such a solid platform from which to build our own programme phases.
The 10 Year Rule (Excellence Takes Time):
Scientific research has suggested that it takes approximately 10 years or 10,000 hours of ‘Deep’ and ‘Deliberate’ training for an athlete to reach an international elite level of competitiveness within his/her sport. This factor is supported by The Path To Excellence, which provides a comprehensive view of the development of U.S. Olympians who competed between 1984 and 1998. Most reported a 12 to 13 year period of talent development from their sport introduction to making an Olympic team. The most recent PGA Tour statistics suggest that for golf this number is closer to 20 years. While this time frame will vary slightly from one player to another, one thing remains constant, excellence takes time. On this basis we also need to consider that talent is not simply ‘born’ but ‘grown’.
Physical, Mental, Cognitive and Emotional Development:
A major objective of LTPD is a holistic (complete) approach to athlete development. In addition to traditional physical, technical and tactical training the mental, cognitive, and emotional development must be considered. This includes emphasis on ethics, fair play and character building.
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