Issues in Sport

Long-Term Athlete Development addresses historical problems in sport. Long-Term Athlete Development has been developed to answer issues that have historically hampered athlete development in many Canadian sports. Long-Term Athlete Development is designed to address problems such as over-competing, under-training, ignoring developmental stages, and more. Long-Term Athlete Development addresses several traditional shortcomings in the Canadian sport system that have led to serious consequences in the training and development of our athletes.

Shortcomings

  • Developmental athletes over-compete and under-train.
  • Adult training and competition programs are imposed on developing athletes.
  • Training and competition formats designed for male athletes are imposed on females.
  • Preparation is geared to winning in the short-term, not long-term development.
  • Training and competition is based on chronological age instead of developmental age.
  • Most coaches neglect the sensitive periods in physical development when athletes have the best chance of making big gains in training of skills, speed, stamina, strength, and suppleness.
  • Fundamental movement skills and sport skills are not taught properly.
  • The most knowledgeable coaches work at the elite level, while inexperienced volunteers coach at the developmental level where quality coaching is essential.
  • Parents are not educated in developmental principles.
  • Developmental training needs of athletes with a disability are not well understood.
  • In most sports, the competition system interferes with athlete development.
  • There is often no talent identification (TID) system.
  • There is no integration between physical education programs in the schools, recreational community programs, and elite competitive programs.
  • Sports specialize too early in an attempt to attract and retain participants.

Consequences

  • Failure to reach optimal performance levels in international competitions.
  • Poor movement abilities.
  • Lack of proper fitness.
  • Poor skill development.
  • Bad habits developed from over-competition focused on winning.
  • Undeveloped and unrefined skills due to under-training.
  • Female athletes don’t reach their potential due to inappropriate programs.
  • Children are not having fun in adult-based programs.
  • No systematic development of the next generation of successful international athletes.
  • Athletes are pulled in different directions by school, club, and provincial teams because of the structure of competition programs.
  • Provincial and national team coaches have to deliver remedial training to counteract the shortcomings of poor athlete preparation.
  • National performances fluctuate due to lack of TID and a developmental pathway.
  • Athletes fail to reach their genetic potential and optimal performance level.

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