What is LTAD?
In 2005, as a result of the creation of the Canadian Sport Policy, Canada began a major project to re-invigorate our national sport system. The new approach was in response to concerns about Canadians' lack of physical activity, the growing obesity epidemic, particularly among children, and the perceived poor performance of Canadian teams internationally. Under the direction of Sport Canada, the Canadian Sport Centre-Vancouver and PacificSport (now PacificSport Vancouver and PacificSport Victoria) were charged with the task of transforming the sport system. As a result, a Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) Expert Group created the generic Canadian LTAD model for able-bodied athletes followed by the LTAD model for athletes with a disability.
The Canadian Sport for Life: Long-Term Athlete Development Resource Paper, which describes the generic LTAD model, is based on a comprehensive review of coaching literature, sport science research, and best practices from effective sports programs within Canada and around the world. Exercise and sport science research and experience provided insight and information regarding the role of growth, development, and maturation in athletic development. These sciences included pediatric exercise science, exercise physiology, sport psychology, psychomotor learning, sport sociology, biomechanics, and nutrition. Analysis of the literature on organizational development also contributed significantly to the development of the generic model. Out of this research came the “10 Key Factors Influencing LTAD” and the “10 S’s of Training and Performance”. The generic model presents a framework for optimal athlete development with particular reference to growth, maturation, and development, appropriate training, and suitable competition exposure. It provides a clear pathway for the development of athletes that is easily understood by all stakeholders. For more information about the genetic LTAD model, please visit www.canadiansportforlife.ca.
The Federal and Provincial/Territorial Ministers of Sport identified LTAD as the framework for sport and physical activity development and agreed to proceed with its implementation in consultation with national (NSOs) and provincial/territorial sport organizations (P/TSOs). As a result, all sports are developing their sport-specific LTAD models through the leadership of their respective NSOs.
In March 2005, Softball Canada formed its Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) Steering Committee, made up of softball experts from across Canada, to lead the development of its model. In April 2005, over 20 of the most prominent and experienced softball coaches, players, and administrators gathered in Ottawa for the LTPD Summit to discuss the current state of our sport, the desired state, and what we need to do to achieve that state. Next, the steering committee began the task of writing the Long-Term Player Development Guide for Softball in Canada. Along the way, feedback on the content was solicited from age category sub-committees formed from participants in the LTPD Summit and selected softball experts. The process to develop softball’s LTPD guide was extensive, inclusive, and comprehensive.