What is Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD)?
Federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation identified sport and recreation infrastructure as their number one priority during their annual conference in Regina on August 4 and 5, 2005. The Ministers determined that an improved infrastructure would advance sport and physical activity in communities across the country while addressing critical health challenges and strengthening Canadian communities. The Ministers directed officials to develop the parameters of a long-term national approach dedicated to sport and recreation infrastructure based on information shared between jurisdictions and to be implemented bilaterally between the Provincial/Territorial Governments and the Government of Canada. LTAD was the result.
LTAD is a systemic approach being developed and adopted by the Canadian Sport System to maximize a participant’s potential and involvement in sport. The model will identify the specific stages of athlete development from first entry in sport through to the high performance level. It will address the appropriate stages for introduction and refinement of basic and technical skills, as well as physical, mental and tactical skills. The LTAD model describes the pathway to sport excellence, including the program support that must be in place to allow for the development of the athlete. This support includes the coaching, training and competition programs required at each stage.
Sport Canada funding has facilitated the creation of a generic national LTAD model that identifies systemic changes required in Canada and will aid in the development of sport-specific models by National Sport Organizations, using the generic model as a template.
Who is using LTAD?
The Council of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for Sport have endorsed and established the goal of the implementation of a Long Term Athlete Development program throughout the sport community in Canada. Sport Canada has been working with National Sport Organizations to develop sport-specific programs according to an overall framework established by an expert group of sport scientists. To date, over 57 sports in Canada have started the process of designing and putting into place LTAD programs. There has been a sharing of best practices among resource personnel and National bodies and the overall program is gaining momentum.
Various national sporting groups in the UK and Ireland are approximately 18 months ahead of their Canadian counterparts in the development of LTAD programs and we are using their experiences and best practices in process development to ensure we have the most comprehensive and effective system possible.
Where will Ringette’s LTAD model come from?
Ringette Canada will be embarking upon the LTAD process in the summer of 2006 and will be following closely the work of such groups as Volleyball Canada, Athletics Canada, Canada Basketball and Soccer Canada to create the best opportunities for all children. This process will be in consultation with a wide range of coaches, sports scientists and experienced volunteers from across Canada to represent the views of the whole Ringette community.
The LTAD will be split into stages in which an athlete will move from simple to more complex skills and from general to sport specific skills. At each stage the athlete will be trained in the optimal systems and programs to maximize their potential as an athlete and as a long-term participant in sport. The LTAD will set out recommended skills development and training sequences for the participant from the Learn to Play Stage through to the Train to Win Stage. It will address the physical, mental, emotional and technical needs of the athlete as they pass through each stage of development.
This project is being funded by Sport Canada and has been flagged as an 18-24 month process.