Long-Term Athlete Development



This consultation paper describes a 7-stage Canadian model of Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD), a training, competition, and recovery program based on developmental age – the maturation level of an individual – rather than chronological age. It is athlete centered, coach driven, and administration, sport science, and sponsor supported. Athletes who progress through LTAD experience training and competition in programs that consider their biological and training ages in creating periodized plans specific to their development needs.

Long-Term Athlete Development

1. is based on the physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive development of children and adolescents. Each stage reflects a different point in athlete development.

2. ensures physical literacy upon which excellence can be built and

  • builds physical literacy in all children, from early childhood to late adolescence by promoting quality daily physical activity in the schools and a common approach to developing physical abilities through community recreation and elite sport programs.
  • recognizes the need to involve all Canadians in LTAD, including athletes with a disability.

3. ensures that optimal training, competition, and recovery programs are provided throughout an athlete’s career.

4. provides an optimal competition structure for the various stages of an athlete’s development.

5. has an impact on the entire sport continuum, including participants, parents, coaches, schools, clubs, community recreation programs, provincial sport organizations (PSOs), national sport organizations (NSOs), sport science specialists, municipalities, and several government ministries and departments (particularly but not exclusively in the portfolios of health and education) at the provincial/territorial and federal levels.

6. integrates elite sport, community sport and recreation,scholastic sport,and physical education in

7. is ‘Made in Canada recognizing international best practices,research,and normative data.

8. supports the four goals of the Canadian Sport Policy-Enhanced Participation, Enhanced Excellence, Enhanced Capacity, and Enhanced Interaction – and reflects a commitment to contribute to the achievement of these goals.

9. promotes a healthy,physically literate nation whose citizens participate in lifelong physical activity.