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What is LTAD (Long Term Athlete Development)?
Human development from birth to adulthood is a continuous process. To understand the process better, experts divide human development into distinct stages with specific characteristics; these are called stages of development.
In Canadian sport, experts have identified seven stages of development, each with its own physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive characteristics. This is our Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model, and it’s the basis for the optimal training and competition kids need to enjoy sport the most and perform their best.
LTAD is a training, competition, and recovery program. It establishes guidelines for coaches, athletes, administrators, and parents in all areas, including planning, training, competition, and recovery. It takes into account the ever-changing competitive program and the overall demands on the athletes.
Why do we need the LTAD model?
Because participation in recreational sport and physical activity has been declining and physical education programs in schools are being marginalized.
Because the international performances of Canadian athletes have been remained stagnant in some sports.
Because other sports are having trouble identifying and developing the next generation of international athletes.
Because NOT matching skills and activities to a stage of development has serious negative consequences, and Canadians and the Canadian sport system have been suffering from them for some time.
To mention just a few of them:
- Children don’t have fun
- They develop bad habits because of the over-emphasis on winning
- Their skill development is poor
- They don’t reach their optimal performance level
- Many burn out and drop out of sport
10 key factors of LTAD
- Physical Literacy
- Developmental Age
- Sensitive periods
- Mental, Cognitive and Emotional Development
- Excellence Takes Time
- System Alignment and Integration
- Continuous Improvement - Kaizen