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U.S. Olympic Committee To Host Inaugural American Development Model Workshop At University Of Delaware

By United States Olympic Committee | Aug. 17, 2015, 1 p.m. (ET)

The United States women's hockey team huddles around the net before the gold-medal game against Canada at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Ice Dome on Feb. 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced plans to host the inaugural American Development Model Workshop Aug. 18-19 at the University of Delaware’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research Campus and Bob Carpenter Center. Representatives from more than 25 National Governing Bodies are expected to attend along with other key athlete development influencers from within the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic family. 

The American Development Model is designed to help Americans realize their full athletic potential and utilize sport as a path toward an active and healthy lifestyle. The five-stage model illustrates an athlete’s advancement through a preferred pathway, and supports a healthy sport experience based on the individual’s physical, mental and emotional development.

“We embrace the long-term athlete development principles that allow American youth to maximize their full potential,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “The goal is to keep more Americans engaged in sport longer by creating positive, healthy experiences for athletes at every level.” 

The American Development Model was initiated in 2009 by USA Hockey, which partnered with the USOC in 2014 in an effort to broaden long-term athlete development benefits across all sports in the U.S.

By creating early positive experiences across all sports, the model aims to promote sustained sport participation, improve the well-being of future generations in the United States and grow the athlete pipeline from which U.S. Olympians and Paralympians are selected.

“Research has shown the importance of fun, age-appropriate participation as crucial in the development of elite athletes,” said Alan Ashley, USOC chief of sport performance. “We are seeing promising signs from young athletes who are excelling thanks to these fundamental principles, which are centered on universal access, developmentally appropriate activities, multi-sport participation, quality coaching and fun.”

The workshop will be conducted over a two-day period with the first day dedicated to sharing knowledge and best practices at the NGB and club level, and the following day focused on joint initiatives to further long-term athlete development in the U.S. Topics of discussion will include athlete development pipelines; the club sport movement in the U.S.; the business benefits of using long-term athlete development concepts to grow a brand and increase retention; and practical application of ADM principles, such as optimal windows of trainability and age-appropriate participation.

“The windows of development are green-light opportunities for young athletes to supercharge their skills, because within those windows, children are especially receptive to certain types of training,” said Ken Martel, USA Hockey’s ADM technical director. “It’s not that an athlete can’t develop skills outside those windows, but they can’t develop them as fully or efficiently, and that’s why we emphasize them within the ADM principles. We want to remove every obstacle that prevents athletes from reaching their peak.”

The workshop is the latest development in the USOC’s long-standing partnership with the University of Delaware, which is also a key contributor to the International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program – an intensive coaching education program offered to National Olympic Committees worldwide. 

“We are honored to host the ADM workshop and welcome the opportunity to grow our relationship with the USOC,” said Matthew Robinson, professor and director of the University of Delaware sport management program and chairman of the Delaware Sports Commission. “We hope to promote the growth of sport in the United States and play a small part in helping American athletes achieve their full potential as Olympic and world champions.”

To learn more about the American Development Model, visit TeamUSA.org.