Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L) is alive and kicking in British Columbia – and jumping, throwing and skipping! Through 2010 Legacies Now, the BC agency tasked with promoting CS4L in the buildup to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, the BC government is helping Provincial Sports Organizations (PSOs), Disability Sport Provincial Sport Organizations (DS PSOs) and Multi Sport Organizations (MSOs) evaluate how they can effectively adopt the seven LTAD stages at all levels in their sport, from schools and community recreation all the way to high performance.
If you can’t count, you can’t add. If you can’t throw, you can’t play a number of sports...
Physical Literacy is a key concept behind the CS4L model for both competitive excellence and long-term wellness in activity and sport.
Some of Canada’s greatest athletes are prime examples of physical literacy in action. Here are a few famous Canadian athletes who didn’t specialize too early in one sport or activity, but leveraged their fundamental skills from one pursuit to another...
Joel MacDonald is a man with a mission and mandate. As the Technical Director for the Kanata Soccer Club outside Ottawa, Joel came into his job with the stated purpose of implementing CS4L principles into the club’s programs.
“I first learned about the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) concept while doing my masters at UBC,” says Joel. “Just as I finished my Masters paper in human kinetics in 1996, a paper about LTAD came out in BC Sports Coach written by Istvan Balyi and Richard Way, and I thought, ‘D’oh! I wish that had been around when I started my masters!’”
One of the key elements in applying LTAD principles to physical activities and sports programs is the recognition that an athlete’s or dancer’s chronological or ‘calendar’ age does not necessarily reflect their actual developmental age – physical or mental. We all know kids ‘mature’ at different rates with their bodies, and their developmental age will determine how they should train and practice their activity or sport. This is why CS4L recommends that sport clubs, dance schools and any organization that deals with active children regularly measure and monitor the physical maturation and growth of their young participants. The most important stage of monitoring PHV, otherwise known as the adolescent growth spurt, is the onset of the spurt and the peak of the spurt.
How LTAD inspired training techniques lead to sporting success
When Alain Lefebvre was hired as Technical Director of FNQ Fédération Natation de Quebec (Quebec Swimming) he was given carte blanche to revitalize a stagnant swimming program. Following his implementation of Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) practices after year 2000, the first wave of Quebec swimmers from the revised program are now racking up successes nationally and internationally.
At a 1999 general meeting, Biathlon Canada discussed the progress of Canadian biathletes on the world stage. The response was not positive. Canadian competitors were being consistently outclassed in all of the major international competitions, and the prognosis for future results didn’t look any better, so Biathlon Canada resolved to try something different.
“Instead of having one team for the boys and one team for the girls, we have as many teams as kids that want to play.”
Bill Simpson is one of education’s champions for promoting sports participation in schools. Their intramural program has a different agenda from other leagues – participation is emphasized. Roughly 40 schools participate in the Prince Albert and Area Athletic Association a team is provided for everyone who wants to play. “What the Prince Albert and Area Athletic Association (P4A) does is create a sports season with the various sports and does a lot of the planning, scheduling and organization allowing the school coaches to focus on coaching.”
We all dream of an ideal world. In the LTAD universe, we dream of an integrated sport system, physical literacy for all, and life-long engagement in physical activity. This dream is coming true for Tennis Canada.
At the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Great Britain was dealt a harsh wakeup call in the swimming pool. After 4 years of preparation, the British team came away with zero medals, and only 5 swimmers qualified for finals in their events. It was Britain’s worst performance in swimming in 64 years. The results were painful for many of the young British competitors, but it especially sent a shock through British Swimming as an organization. And it initiated a major overhaul of their sport system.