Long Term Athlete Development

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.

Click here to download Racquetball Canada’s Athlete Development Matrix

Junior Development

Development Grants

Racquetball Canada has grants available to support the development of racquetball in Canada. Grants may be made to help programs promoting racquetball participation by Women, Indigenous People, Athletes With a Disability, as well as youth and young adults.

Check out the Development Grant application to see if the program you are planning qualifies for a Racquetball Canada grant.  The deadline for applications is October 15 annually.  Please note that the Development Grant program has been amended for the 2019-2020 season.

Questions about this program can be directed to Racquetball Canada’s Executive Director

Development Centres

Racquetball Canada supports Training and Development Centres across Canada to  develop future elite players.

Development Centres are the stepping stone for the junior athletes that have hopes and desires to achieve a spot on the Junior National Team or the National Team.

The centres are a crucial part of Racquetball Canada’s development plan for  athletes and  provide a stepping stone for athletes as well as coaches who are scouting up and coming athletes for the future  Team Canada.

To apply to be a Racquetball Canada Development Centre click here.  The annual deadline for applications  is October 15.

Questions about this program can be directed to Racquetball Canada’s Executive Director.

2018-2019 Development Centre Locations

Ambassador Racquetball
Windsor, Ontario

Brandon Racquetball
Brandon, Manitoba

Kelowna Junior Racquetball
Kelowna, BC

Moncton Boys and Girls Club, New Brunswick Racquetball Association
Moncton, NB

Quebec Junior Racquetball
Brossard, Quebec

River Rackets
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Winnipeg Junior Racquetball
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Parkinson’s Program

Racquetball Canada has partnered with Jacques Seguin to create a program for people with Parkinson’s to use racquetball to aid them in being active and well,  he calls his program “A Convenient Truth.”  In addition to this video link, you can read about Jacque’s journey below.

Nova Scotia Racquetball also ran a program for a group of people with Parkinson’s:  People with Parkinson’s Play Racquetball

Parkinson’s and Racquetball

A short history as seen by Jacques Séguin, August 2008.

Chronology of events leading to Racquetball for people with Parkinson’s (PWP).

On November 8, 2003, I am diagnosed with Parkinson’s. At the end of June 2004, I must stop working. My body is on strike, it no longer works and I’m exhausted. At the end of June 2004, my wife Suzanne accepts a new job in Toronto. At the end of October 2004, I decide to use the racquetball court that we have in our Toronto condo’s gym. I realize that by hitting the ball against the wall in the racquetball court, my body simply reverts to its pre-Parkinson days. Parkinson literally seems to evaporate from my body and this exhilarating feeling lasts for a few moments to a few hours after I leave the gym. From 2004 to 2008, I rebuild myself. I go from 5 minutes before being exhausted to over an hour session at full speed 6 days a week.

In September 2008, we move back to Ottawa. Fortunately, there is also a racquetball court in our Ottawa condo’s sports center which I use regularly.  I decide to communicate with Racquetball Canada and Parkinson’s Canada. No one has ever realized that a sport such as racquetball could have such a powerful impact on Parkinson’s. The Executive Director of Racquetball Canada asks me to write an article about the benefits of this sport for people with Parkinson. I share this article with Parkinson’s Canada.

As I am starting to present racquetball to people living with Parkinson’s, Racquetball Canada provides me with a dozen games kits:  rackets, balls and protective glasses. I meet with the Parkinson’s support group based in Orleans and present the benefits of playing racquetball. Three of the twelve persons present decide to try playing racquetball with me. Two other persons decide to join the group and we play in my condo’s racquetball court. My son-in law, Patrick makes a video about how I deal with Parkinson’s through racquetball. In September 2013, the video gets an Honorable mention in the video contest presented to the 3rd World Congress of Parkinson’s in Montreal.

As a volunteer, I become an “Ambassador of Parkinson ‘s and Movement Disorders” for Racquetball Canada. After a presentation I make to the Association de Parkinson de l’Outaouais, they decide to make a partnership with Racquetball Canada and La Sporthèque in Gatineau, Québec, to encourage people living with Parkinson to play racquetball. A course on racquetball for people living with Parkinson’s in the Ottawa region is also set up in collaboration with the Bob MacQuarrie Center in Orléans, Ontario with a coach, Don Ferguson. During a conference call with the Maritimes Parkinson’s Association, Peter Davidson is easily convinced to try it in his garage. He becomes a believer and promotes the sport and even organizes an open-door Parkinson-racquetball in the Maritimes.

Racquetball Canada publishes a Guide for the development of racquetball programs for people living with Parkinson’s and finances the development of a series of videos relating to racquetball for people living with Parkinson’s that can be found on the Racquetball Canada website or on my website jseguin.ca which also includes television interviews in which I participated and articles I wrote.

In February 2018, Jack McBride, who has Canadian and international racquetball championships under his belt, contacted me to discuss the possibility of creating a group in Edmonton. The work is ongoing in collaboration with Parkinson’s Alberta and LA Fitness.

Through the years, several persons living with Parkinson’s (40 in the Ottawa region) have benefited from the different initiatives put in place to support racquetball for people living with Parkinson’s. Since these initiatives are very small and supported by persons like me who are convinced of the benefits, circumstances can create or eliminate initiatives. For example, the Sporthèque in Gatineau closed its racquetball courts in order to develop new programs and people living with Parkinson’s and regular players now have to travel to the Bob MacQuarrie Center in Orléans to play, which is quite a distance.

As another example, the course which was offered in Orleans became difficult to deliver because of the required numbers of participants. To counter this difficulty, a new concept which recognizes the participation of accompaniers for people living with Parkinson’s was adopted by the Bob MacQuarrie Center and courts are made available for this group.

Through the years, people from other countries such as the United States and Australia have reached out to get information pertaining to the benefits of racquetball for people living with Parkinson’s. Slowly the word is getting out but not fast enough…

Parkinson is a debilitating disease. The one certainty about Parkinson’s is that it will get worst. Racquetball is one of many solutions to provide a certain amount of wellness. Other sports such as cycling, boxing, badminton, dance and others can also help. The important fact is to exercise: racquetball does that and more…

When you get up in the morning the question is not “Will I play today? It should be “At what time do I play and with whom am I playing with”.

Email Jacques Sequin with any questions about this program.