When I was appointed Alberta CS4L Coordinator earlier this year, the aim of this new position was to create an effective communications network and to map physical literacy and athlete development within the province.
International sporting success has many outcomes, which I would argue are beneficial and far reaching. Governments seem to agree with what appears to be a continuing and increasing “arms race” with the hopes of further medals. As but one example on October 11, 2014, Russia announced a new federal funding program worth RUB70 billion ($1.8 billion) to further develop physical education and sports.
Now in its second year, the CS4L Leaders’ School (CLS) is gaining prominence as an incubator for exciting community LTAD and physical literacy projects. At the January 2014 CS4L National Summit, the eight inaugural CLS 2013 graduates presented their amazing initiatives – and a few months from now, the 15 leaders enrolled in Year Two will be out to trump them.
This is the third blog about the Activating CS4L in Ontario project ("the Project"), but the first in a long time; the last was written in late 2012. The Project is a collaborative with three Ontario Provincial Sport Organizations (PSOs- basketball, soccer, volleyball), the Toronto Sport Council, and Brock University to learn how best to integrate CS4L-LTAD in community sport clubs and develop a new generation of CS4L leaders to work in the community. The Project page is here.
Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L) in partnership with the Aboriginal Sport Circle is facilitating the development of Aboriginal Long-Term Athlete (ALTAD) resources and their activation in communities and sport systems. The purpose of these resources is to increase the percentage of Aboriginal children who are physically literate, to define a pathway for Aboriginal athletes into the sport performance pathway and, to have more Aboriginal people being active for life. A first step in this process is the hosting of regional summits with the purpose of engaging key stakeholders including First Nations, Inuit and, Metis leaders and, sport policy and program leaders from all provinces and territories.
Over the last year my understanding of physical literacy has grown. My perspective, broad and textbook at first, has morphed and sharpened to become something that has very little in common with my view just one year ago. What caused this change? Most of it has come from teaching at risk youth.
PISE has always taken a games and play approach to teaching physical literacy skills; instead of doing drills, or repetition activities we choose to teach through play. If you pop your head in on one of our programs you will likely see kids laughing, playing and running around (all while making an incredible amount of noise). What the kids often don’t realize is that behind the play is a very specific, thought out plan that consciously teaches fundamental movement and sport skills.
The question of sport specialization—when to begin and how best to approach it—has been a topic of much debate for years, and one that CS4L-LTAD has discussed at length. Though some have argued that early specialization in a sport is the only way to become an elite athlete, more and more research shows that later specialization in a sport (aside from artistic and acrobatic sports) better equips athletes to succeed at the highest levels.