Long Term Athlete Development and Sport

Stages_LTADPhysical Literacy serves as the foundation for not only participation in sport, but also for lifelong participation in physical activities and recreation . The Canadian Sport for Life Long Term Athlete Development Plan (LTAD) recognizes physical literacy as the foundation for developing the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed for Canadians to lead healthy active lives.

The Canadian Sport For Life framework defines physical literacy as: “...the development of fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills that permit a child to move confidently and with control, in a wide range of physical activity, rhythmic (dance) and sport situations. Physical literacy also includes the ability to “read” what is going on around them in an activity setting and react appropriately to those events” (Higgs et al., 2008, p. 5).

The LTAD promotes physical activity for all based upon a developmental progression. By encouraging a positive physical activity experience at a young age through active play and games (i.e., Active Start) and fostering the development of a variety of well-structured activities that develop basic skills (i.e., FUNdamentals), children begin to develop the physical literacy skills that will enable them to move with poise and confidence across and within a wide variety of physical activities. These basic skills then form a solid platform to learn overall sport skills which can be transferred across a number of different types of sports in the Learning to Train phase. By the time adolescents reach the Train to Train stage, they are already consolidating their basic sport-specific skills and tactics into more specialized forms of physical activity. For those who choose to remain in the competitive stream and have developed a high level of ability, athletes can then specialize in one sport and Train to Compete and subsequently Train to Win at major national and international competitions.