Youth Lacrosse serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and the official team for Paradise Valley Unified School District, Pinnacle High School Lacrosse and Horizon Lacrosse

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Stages of Development in LTAD Model

Stage 1

Discovery (Birth to 6 years old): Gives the youngest players the opportunity to develop basic movement skills like running, jumping, landing, kicking, scooping, throwing and catching in a fun setting, built around informal play and positive reinforcement. Kids play and explore movement through many physical activities.

Stage 2

Fundamentals (6 to 9 years old): Allows children to develop their movement ABCs — agility, balance, coordination, and speed — and learn the basics of the game while emphasizing fun, cooperation, and maximum touches with the ball. Kids sample lots of different physical activities and sports. 

Stage 3

Foundations (8 to 12 years old): This is the “golden age” of learning and sport skill development. Children become less self-centered and are able to reflect on their actions and learn from their mistakes. This is the optimal time to learn and build a large repertoire of lacrosse-specific skills and learn the basic principles of play in a fun, challenging environment. Players sample many physical activities and sports in addition to lacrosse.

Stage 4

Emerging Competition (11 to 14 years old): This is the stage in which we make or break the athlete; when children choose to continue participation in the sport. This is the time for developing strong technical skills and is the dawning of tactical awareness. Players are also introduced to concepts like mental preparation, goal setting, and coping with winning and losing. Players learn advanced technical skills and position-specific techniques. The major focus is on applying skills, strategies and tactics from practice to competitive situations. Athletes participate in several sports throughout the year or in a variety of physical activities.

Stage 5

Competitive (15 to 18 years hold): Players are now fine-tuning their lacrosse skills under a variety of competitive conditions in a game format that mirrors adult play. Along with continued refinement of advanced techniques, players work to develop their tactical awareness, discipline and mental toughness. They are honing their performance in competition during this stage. Athletes may start to focus on one or two key sports or continue with a variety of physical activities