Long Term Athlete Development

Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L) is a movement to improve the quality of sport and physical activity in Canada through improved athlete training and better integration between all stakeholders in the sport system, including sport organizations, education, recreation and health.

The Canadian Sport for Life philosophy is being embraced by the sport community as an important and effective way to address physical fitness and health for the Canadian population while improving the quality of sport throughout Canada.

Canadian Sport for Life is also a way to optimize talent identification and athlete preparation for competition at their highest level. CS4L impacts the entire sport continuum, from physical literacy to active for life to reach the podium. The approach includes all players and stakeholders in the sport world: participants, coaches, parents, schools, clubs and community recreation programs.

A key feature of CS4L is Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD), a developmental pathway whereby athletes follow optimal training, competition, and recovery regimens from childhood through all phases of adulthood.

10 Key Factors

Long-Term Athlete Development is based on sport research, coaching best practices, and scientific principles. LTAD expresses these principles, research, and practices as
10 Key Factors essential to athlete development:

  1. Excellence Takes Time – the “10 year” or “10,000 hours” rule
  2. FUNdamentals – learning basic sport skills through fun activity that encourages a love for sport and active living
  3. Specialization – the right/wrong time to specialize in one sport/activity
  4. Developmental Age – children grow at different rates
  5. Trainability – critical periods of development and the “windows of optimal trainability”
  6. Physical, Mental, Cognitive and Emotional Development – the holistic approach to athlete development
  7. Periodization – logical training plans for all ages & stages
  8. Competition – preventing injury & burnout. “Competition is a Good Servant, but a Poor Master”
  9. System Alignment and Integration – the interrelationship of schools, community centres, clubs, Provincial & National sport organizations etc.
  10. Continuous Improvement – LTAD principles and best practices are continuously evolving

Ages and Stages of Cycling's LTAD

LTAD Stage Chronological Age (Gender), Years in Sport Who is Responsible
Active Start: Learning to Ride 0-6 (F & M), 0 Sport Years Parents
FUNDamentals: Loving to Ride Around 6-9 (M) & 6-8 (F), 0-3 Sport Years Kids of Mud, Club, Parents, School
Learn to Train: Learning Cycling Skills 9-12 (M) & 8-11 (F), 1-5 Sport Years Kids of Mud, Club, Parents, School
Train to Train: Building the Engine 12-16 (M) & 11-15 (F), 3-6 Sport Years Provincial “Development Program”, Kids of Mud, Club team, Sport school
Learn to Compete: Entering Competition 16-18 (M) & 15-17 (F) +/-, 4-8 Sport Years Provincial “Performance Program”, Trade Team, Club team, Sport school
Train to Compete: To the Front of the Pack 18-21 (M) & 17-21 (F) +/-, 6+ Sport years Provincial “High Performance Program”, Trade Team, National Team
Learn to Win: First Across the Line 19-23 +/- (M&F), 8+ Sport years Provincial “High Performance Program”, Trade Team, National Team
Train to Win: Staying at the Front 23-25 +/- and up (M & F), 10+ Sport years Provincial “High Performance Program”, Trade Team, National Team
Active for Life: Staying on the Bike Enter at any stage Club, Recreation programs, Commuting