Children, youth and adults need to do the right things at the right time to develop in their sport or activity – whether they want to be hockey players, dancers, figure skaters or gymnasts. Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) describes the things athletes need to be doing at specific ages and stages.
Science, research and decades of experience all point to the same thing: kids and adults will get active, stay active, and even reach the greatest heights of sport achievement if they do the right things at the right times. This is the logic behind the Long-Term Athlete Development Framework (LTAD).
Awareness and First Involvement stages engage individual in sport and physical activity, they must be aware of what opportunities exist, and when they try an activity for the first time, it is critical that the experience is positive.
Active Start, Fundamentals and Learn to Train stages develop physical literacy before puberty so children have the basic skills to be active for life. Physical literacy also provides the foundation for those who choose to pursue elite training in one sport or activity after age 12.
Train to Train, Train to Compete and Train to Win stages provide elite training for those who want to specialize in one sport and compete at the highest level, maximizing the physical, mental and emotional development of each athlete.
Active for Life stage is about staying Active for Life through lifelong participation in competitive or recreational sport or physical activity.
Racquetball Canada’s Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model explains how best to use the 10,000 hours depending on the athlete’s age and stage. It provides guidance on what and when to train. It recommends the ratio of time spent competing vs. training.
The aim of Racquetball Canada’s LTAD model is to outline an appropriate long-term approach to training and preparation to coaches, parents, clubs, and administrators in Canada. The plan gives detailed training and competition guidance that will be of assistance to Racquetball stakeholders (clubs, schools) in planning their programs. Racquetball Canada undertook a competition review in order to determine how LTAD concepts would be implemented within Racquetball Canada. This document is available here.
Athlete Development Matrix
The Racquetball Canada Athlete Development Matrix provides a foundation and structure for the creation and review of athlete and sport development programs. The matrix was developed through the review of the skill set of an idea racquetball player with careful consideration given to the gaps that exist in the Canadian system. The document should serve as an aid to Racquetball Canada in the review of training and competition systems as well as testing protocols and screening practices.
The matrix provides a breakdown of skills and attributes in the following areas for each of the stages in the Racquetball Canada Athlete Development pathway.
- Physiological attributes
- Technical skills
- Tactical skills
- Psychological skills
- Life skills
Click here to download Racquetball Canada’s Athlete Development Matrix
Safe Sport & the Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM)
Racquetball Canada believes that everyone in the sport has a right to enjoy the sport at whatever level or position they participate. Athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers have the right to participate in an inclusive training and competitive environment that is free of abuse, harassment or discrimination.
The Responsible Coaching Movement (RCM) is a call to action for sport organizations and coaches to maximize the positive benefits of sport through values-based and principle-driven coaching. The tools that go hand in hand with the RCM provide important safe sport protections. Racquetball Canada has taken the Responsible Coaching Movement Pledge and encourages all clubs, facilities, event organizers and provincial associations to do the same.
Our commitment to Safe Sport, including the RCM, can be found throughout the Safe Sport section of our website. Please visit the Safe Sport pages for information about Safe Sport requirements and resources for coaches.
Other Valuable Resources
The True Sport Experience – Volume 1: FUNdamentals
This is an excellent resource for those offering learn-to or junior programs! The activities can be integrated easily into programs both on and off the court, ensuring that program participants are learning important sport values at an early age. The True Sport values create the conditions for good sport to grow!
The True Sport Experience – Volume 1: FUNdamentals is a resource for those working with children aged 6 to 9 consisting of a series of physical activities offered in a fun and creative way that facilitate learning the True Sport Principles.
Whether you are a teacher, coach or recreational leader, The True Sport Experience offers a balanced and intentional approach to physical activity by focusing on the development of both ethical and physical literacy. The activities can be applied in and out of the classroom, as well as in the community and align with current Canadian physical education curriculum. Children aged 6 to 9 are in the FUNdamentals Stage of the Long-Term Development framework.