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.
I don’t expect people to be interested in what I do on a daily basis. Certainly nobody asks! But, as almost all of my work as a self-employed consultant is related to CS4L, there is some sort of relationship between what I’m doing and the progress of the movement. Last month’s work provides a few illustrative examples.
Canada is a great country. We have so much to be thankful for. But all is not perfect in our land. We are known to be a progressive and diverse culture, and in the bright-shining light of progression I speak to all the parents, administrators and educators of our fair nation.
We stand proud on our achievements in literacy and numeracy, for our children are among the most capable in the world when it comes to Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. No surprise really, as the 3 Rs have been long-standing pillars of our education system and our Canadian mindset. From the Pacific to the Atlantic, we measure our achievement of the 3Rs using mandatory provincial examinations. We know where we stand, and we can rightfully stand tall.
There is no question that the introduction of Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) to Ontario has brought with it some concern—and push back. The very notion that there would no longer be formal league standings—or even scores—at the early ages continues is a sea change for most of us.
But increasingly, Clubs, coaches and parents are recognizing what so many top soccer minds in the most serious soccer nations throughout the world have been saying for years: that is, helping all young players on every youth “team” develop skills and confidence with the ball at their feet at the early ages is much more important than winning a game at the U9 level, for example, simply because a particular team may have bigger, faster, stronger players.