Long-Term Player Development
Long-term athlete development (LTAD) or long-term player development (LTPD) is a "made-in-Canada" framework to maximize a player’s potential and long term involvement in sport over the course of his/her life. It focuses on the general framework of athlete development with special reference to growth, maturation and development, trainability, and sport system alignment and integration.
Sport Canada’s LTAD resource paper, "Canadian Sport for Life," sets out the framework for sport development in Canada, based on the following principles:
- Clear development pathway from playground to podium and on to being active for life.
- Physical, mental, emotional, and cognitive development of children and adolescents. Each stage reflects a different point in athlete development.
- Build 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.
Hockey Canada’s LTPD program is an eight-stage model based on the physical, mental, emotional and cognitive development of children and adolescents. Each stage reflects a different point in developing the player. The first three stages emphasize physical literacy and a broad range of sport experiences. The next five stages focus on development and competitive excellence. Active for Life encourages life-long physical activity and informed healthy lifestyle choices with participation in hockey long after the competitive years.
Hockey Alberta is modeling its LTPD plan on the Hockey Canada program. The Hockey Alberta LTPD program is being developed based on the following principles:
- Doing the right thing for the player at the right stage in their development.
- Adopting a player-centered approach and not treating the development of all players the same.
- The broader the foundation of players the more successful the game of hockey will be in Alberta.
- Viewing player development as a long term process.
- Aligning player development resources with the right age and ability level.
- Coach development and education resources so that coaches are doing the right things at the right time (skills manuals, DVDs).
- A need to better educate parents on the hockey development of their child. It is okay for parents to want their kids to get to the highest levels but they need to know the best way to go about it.