Programming for Youth in Sport

Balyi and others proudly declare that the
LTAD:

1.    is based on the physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive development of children and adolescents. Each stage reflects a different point in athlete development.

2.    ensures physical literacy1 upon which excellence can be built and

∑    builds physical literacy in all children, from early childhood to late adolescence by promoting quality daily physical activity in the schools and a common approach to developing physical abilities through community recreation and elite sport programs.

∑    recognizes the need to involve all Canadians in LTAD, including athletes with a disability.

3.    ensures that optimal training, competition, and recovery programs are provided throughout an athlete’s career.

4.    provides an optimal competition structure for the various stages of an athlete’s development.

5.    has an impact on the entire sport continuum, including participants, parents, coaches, schools, clubs, community recreation programs, provincial sport organizations (PSOs), national sport organizations (NSOs), sport science specialists, municipalities, and several government ministries and departments (particularly but not exclusively in the portfolios of health and education) at the provincial/territorial and federal levels.

6.    integrates elite sport, community sport and recreation, scholastic sport, and physical education in schools.

7.    is ‘Made in Canada’, recognizing international best practices, research, and normative data.

8.    supports the four goals of the Canadian Sport Policy — Enhanced Participation, Enhanced Excellence, Enhanced Capacity, and Enhanced Interaction — and reflects a commitment to contribute to the achievement of these goals.

9.    promotes a healthy, physically literate nation whose citizens participate in lifelong physical activity.

They define Physical literacy as competency in fundamental motor skills and fundamental sport skills.

This approach by Balyi and others, while not new, is nonetheless novel in the manner in which it is articulated. The approach is systematic and can be utilised by national sports associations to facilitate the enhancement of their work in building a strong sports culture among themselves and in society at large. Here at home it is important for ongoing dialogue on the approach being undertaken and the value and validity of the Canadian model mentioned above. There is always a learning curve that can be of benefit to us all.