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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to problematize the continued adoption and implementation of Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) framework (Balyi et al., 2005; 2014) as an increasingly orthodox conception of the athlete development process and for underpinning and designing sport coaching practice. In adopting a post-structuralist, Foucauldian perspective and drawing upon empirical interview data with Balyi and colleagues, senior government officials and sport administrators, our analysis examines some of the potential limitations for adopting and implementing LTAD as a conception of the athlete development process. In particular, we highlight the potential issues and contradictions linked to adopting such conceptions, namely their (mis)use as mechanisms of social control (i.e. governmentality), delimiting the ability of athletes and sport practitioners to think otherwise (i.e. disciplining and docility), and the potential to marginalize alternative ways of thinking. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for managerial and coaching practice.

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