LAST week we discussed Long-Term Athlete Development (LATD) talking about FUNdamentals, which is the phase for children above six years of age. At this stage, children must be involved in daily unstructured physical activity as well as interaction with different children.

The next phase for LATD is called Training to Train. Once a wide range of fundamental movement skills have been acquired, participants progress into the Learn to Train stage. Children learn to understand basic rules, tactics and strategy in games and refinement of some sport specific skills. There are opportunities to participate in multiple sports with competitions focused on skills development and retention. Games and activities are inclusive, fun and skills based. At the end of the Learn to Train stage, participants grow (or progress) toward sport excellence in the Train to Train stage or being Active for Life, either by being Competitive for Life or Fit for Life. This stage forms the cornerstone for competent participation in a variety of sports. One thing notable about this stage is that this is when children can learn life skills such as discipline, being coachable, learning to win with humility and losing with grace.

■ Develop foundational sport skills in a range of sports, physical activities, positions and environments.

■ Children should continue to be active and engage in a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.

■ Develop strength, endurance and flexibility through games and fun activities.

■ This is a period of accelerated development of coordination and fine motor control. It is also a time when children enjoy practicing skills they learn and seeing their own improvement.

■ Use physical literacy movement preparation as part of warm-ups to support overall development of physical literacy.

■ Make sure more time is spent on training compared with competition, and avoid specialization in sports.

■ Provide opportunities for every child to learn and play. Children are less likely to be included in peer activities if they do not have the same skill level and will have fewer opportunities for practice in the future.

■ Continue to encourage unstructured free play.

■ Ensure sports and physical activity remain FUN.

Training to Train stages are from nine to 11 years of age. Keep kids active and make sure they are having fun. But what is really important to me is the life skills children are able to learn when they participate in sports. These are things people cannot take away from them and something that can help them throughout life.