Thursday, July 11, 2013

Long Term Athlete Development

Christine Sinclair is one of the greatest soccer players to ever wear the maple leaf. She is the face of Canadian women's soccer, and undoubtedly one of the best players in the world. The cliche that athletes are born is true. But what helps to explain the success of an athlete such as Christine Sinclair is that she went through a process of development in order to get where she is today.

Long Term Athlete Development, LTAD, is the system that has been created to help develop sports in Canada. LTAD is the continuum of physical literacy, which is important in the development of future athletes and keeping children and adults engaged in physical activities. Comprised of seven sequential stages of development, LTAD helps establish physical literacy necessary to a life long enjoyment of recreational activities, while supporting the development of our future sports stars. The stages of LTAD also ensure that children get exposed to all sort of sports and develop skills that might make physical activity easier, fun and make it more likely to that they will enjoy sports on into adulthood.

The seven stages of the Long Term Athlete Development model are:
The first three stages of the LTAD allows for children to learn the basics of various sports. These stages are the building blocks to attaining necessary skills in the pursuit of elite training or just enjoyment of sports in general. Stages 4 to 6 allow for those who are concentrating on one sport to have the opportunity to compete and train at the highest level. Stage seven is about enjoying sports and recreational activities for life.

Each stage in the LTAD model helps develop athletes at all levels of the progression from the Christine Sinclairs through to athletes who participate recreationally. Participants introduced to any given stage of Long Term Athlete Development model are able to attain knowledge and make entry into the next stage of development that much easier. The purpose of the stages is to offer a continuum through which all Canadians are able to participate in sports and be active for life. LTAD stages are the building block to life long enjoyment of physical activities.

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Balyi I, Hamilton A. LONG-TERM ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT Trainability in childhood and Adolescence. American Swimming. March 2010;2010(2):14-23.
2. Banack H, Bloom G, Falcão W. Promoting Long Term Athlete Development in Cross Country Skiing Through Competency-Based Coach Education: A Qualitative Study. International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching. June 2012;7(2):301-316.
3. Cobley S, Baker J, Wattie N, McKenna J. Annual Age-Grouping and Athlete Development. Sports Medicine. March 2009;39(3):235-256.
4. FORD P, CROIX M, WILLIAMS C, et al. The Long-Term Athlete Development model: Physiological evidence and application. Journal Of Sports Sciences. February 15, 2011;29(4):389-402.
5. Greyson I, Kelly S, Peyrebrune M, Furniss B. Research Notes: Interpreting and Implementing the Long Term Athlete Development Model: English Swimming Coaches' Views on the (Swimming) LTAD in Practice: A Commentary. International Journal Of Sports Science & Coaching. September 2010;5(3):403-406.
6. Norris S. Long-Term Athlete Development Canada: Attempting System Change and Multi-Agency Cooperation. Current Sports Medicine Reports (American College Of Sports Medicine). November 2010;9(6):379-382.
7. Way R. LEADERS GATHER IN OTTAWA TO DISCUSS LONG-TERM ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT. Coaches Plan/Plan Du Coach. Spring2009 2009;16(1):42-43.

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