Windows of Optimal Trainability

by Ben Fletcher, MS, CSCS, FMS
NSCA Coach April 2016
Vol 4, Issue 2

Available to:
Members only
Program design

The “five Ss” of trainability and performance are critical periods of development that all youth strength and conditioning coaches should consider when creating a training program. Coaches should take advantage of each window to maximize a youth athlete’s potential and help ensure a long athletic career.

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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 »



1. Balyi, I. Long-term athlete development: Trainability in childhood and adolescence windows of opportunity, optimal trainability. Victoria: National coaching institute British Columbia and advanced training and performance Ltd. 2004.  
2. Balyi, I, Way, R, and Higgs, C. Long-Term Athlete Development. Champaign, IL: Human kinetics; 2013. 
3. Epstein, D. The Sport Gene. New York, NY: The Penguin Group; 2013. 
4. Helson, WF, Starkes, JL, and Hodges, NJ. Team sports and the theory of deliberate practice. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 20: 12-34, 1998. 
5. Lloyd, RS, Faigenbaum, AD, Stone, MH, Oliver, JL, Jeffreys, I, Moody, JA, et al. Position statement on youth resistance training: The 2014 international consensus. British Journal of Sports Medicine 48: 498-505, 2014. 
6. Malina, RM. Early sports specialization: Roots, effectiveness, risks. Current Sports Medicine Reports9(6): 364-371, 2010.

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Coaching Education from West Virginia University. He earned his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) certification through the Nation ...

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Program design
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