Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD)
Your Child and the Canadian Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD)
There is a lot of information on this topic (see links below) but basically this is a fundamental part of the Canadian sport philosophy that maintains that to grow into healthy active adults, children need to acquire certain physical skills while they are still developing. In addition to creating adults who will stay active and healthy for life, it is believed that this system is the best way to create world class athletes.
Over the next few years LTAD will become a familiar word to parents, but presently it is known primarily in the sports world, where all government funding is being tied to this philosophy.
One of the fundamental principles of this philosophy is that it takes 10 000 hours to create an Olympic class athlete. It has been demonstrated that it takes 10 000 hours to become world class at anything. Fencing skills are complex to learn and take a very long time to master. As a parent, your head can be easily turned by an enthusiastic coach who wants to rush your talented child into competition. Or you or your child may be feeling this way.
Sport science suggests, as stated in the LTAD, that children who are pushed too soon into competition will likely suffer burn out long before the 10 000 hour mark. They suffer more injuries and are more likely to be stressed which will show in their school work, and social activities.
The Ontario Fencing Association is working actively to align all of our programs with the LTAD. We have taken certain steps such as eliminating a ranking for any fencers in the under twelve category, which takes the pressure to compete away to a certain extent. We have also restructured our Youth Program (OYCAD or Youth Cadet Athlete Development) so that the young ones have two camps and only two competitions in the season. By taking a regional approach, there is less travel required, thereby reducing costs and family and school disruptions.
In the 2009-2010 season, workshops on the Long Term Athlete Development Model will be offered through your local Regional Community Development Centre (RCDC). Every sport parent should take advantage of these workshops to familiarize themselves with the principles of LTAD.
For more information on LTAD see here.