The United States Olympic Committee, in partnership with the National Governing Bodies, created The American Development Model in 2014 to help Americans realize their full athletic potential and utilize sport as a path toward an active and healthy lifestyle.  

The model utilizes long-term athlete development concepts to promote sustained physical activity, participation in sport, and Olympic and Paralympic success. These concepts have been tailored to create a framework for developing American youth through sport.

The American Development Model is comprised of four key elements:

  1. Statement
  2. Visual Model 
  3. NGB Programming
  4. Resources

The ultimate goal is to create positive experiences for American athletes at every level. By using the American Development Model, clubs, coaches and parents can help maximize potential for future elite athletes, and improve the health and well-being for future generations in the United States. 


The United States Olympic Committee and its National Governing Bodies embrace the athlete development principles that allow American youth to utilize sport as a path toward an active and healthy lifestyle, and create opportunities for athletes to maximize their full potential. These five key principles include:

  1. Universal access to create opportunity for all athletes 
  2. Developmentally appropriate activities that emphasize motor and foundational skills 
  3. Multi-sport participation 
  4. Fun, engaging and progressively challenging atmosphere 
  5. Quality coaching at all age levels

By creating early positive experiences for all athletes, the American Development Model will keep more children engaged in sport longer with four outcomes: 

  1. Grow both the general athlete population and the pool of elite athletes from which future U.S. Olympians and Paralympians are selected 
  2. Develop fundamental skills that transfer between sports
  3. Provide an appropriate avenue to fulfill an individual's athletic potential
  4. Create a generation that loves sport and physical activity, and transfers that passion to the next generation


Q. What is the purpose of the American Development Model?
A. The purpose of the American Development Model is to illustrate the stages of development that athletes experience in youth sport. The five stages support the key factors that are outlined in the American Development Statement.

Q. Who is the target audience of the American Development Model?
A. The American Development Model is designed to target adults who typically determine sport opportunities for young athletes, including coaches, administrators and parents. The physical, emotional and mental landscape of each stage should enhance the overall development and positive experience for each athlete.

Q. How should the American Development Model be utilized?
A. The American Development Model is a visual concept designed to help guide consumers and National Governing Bodies toward building and delivering programs that are focused on the individual athlete. The visual model illustrates age-appropriate expectations and concepts for each stage of development.