Games to Support Physical Literacy and Long-Term Athletic Development

by Rick Howard, MEd, CSCS,*D, and NSCA High School Coaching
NSCA Coach July 2013
Vol 2, Issue 3


Strength and conditioning coaches who systematically progress specific training variables, including games, can help youth improve performance and reduce the risk of injury.

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This article originally appeared in NSCA Coach, a quarterly publication for NSCA Members that provides valuable takeaways for every level of strength and conditioning coach. You can find scientifically based articles specific to a wide variety of your athletes’ needs with Nutrition, Programming, and Youth columns. Read more articles from NSCA Coach »



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2. Baechle, T, and Earle, R. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. (3rd ed.) Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2008. 
3. Faigenbaum, A, Kraemer, W, Blimkie, C, Jeffreys, I, Micheli, L, Nitka, M, et al. Youth resistance training: Updated position statement paper from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 23(suppl 5): S60-S79, 2009.
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5. Halford, P. Why game like activities are more appropriate to teach soccer than drills. Retrieved June 10, 2015 from
6. Howard, R. Catch 22: Why fundamental motor skills are so important. NSCA Coach 2(1): 38-41, 2015.
7. Lloyd, R, Oliver, J, Faigenbaum, A, Howard, R, Ste Croix, M, Williams, C, et al. Long-term athletic development – Part 1: A pathway for all youth. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 29(5): 1439-1450, 2015.
8. National Association for Sport Physical Education. Guidelines for participation in youth sport programs: Specialization versus multi-sport participation. Position statement. Reston, VA; 2010.
9. Seefeldt, VD, and Ewing, ME. Patterns of participation in American agency-sponsored youth sports. In Smoll, FL, and Smith, RE (Eds.), Children and Youth in Sport: A Biopsychosocial Perspective (2nd ed.) Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt; 39-56, 2002.
10. Stodden, D, Gao, Z, Goodway, J, and Langendorfer, S. Dynamic relationships between motor skill competence and health related fitness in youth. Pediatric Exercise Science 26(3): 231-241, 2014.
11. The Physical Educator. Skill classification. Retrieved June 2015 from

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Rick Howard, DSc, CSCS,*D, RSCC*E

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Rick Howard earned his Doctorate in Health Promotion and Wellness from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. He is an Associate Professor i ...

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