Long Term Athlete Development, or LTAD, describes a framework for the optimal development of sport participants of all ages, interests and abilities, and in all sports. In the Canadian sport system, LTAD is important for the ongoing development of:
- Enhanced Participation
- Enhanced Excellence
- Enhanced Capacity
- Enhanced Interaction
The basic principles of LTAD are embedded in the physical, mental, cognitive and emotional development of participants. The fencing-specific LTAD framework aligns these principles with the sport’s development pathway. LTAD is divided into several stages, each of which addresses a specific phase of development, and which is related to an individual’s level of maturation, from childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood. Participants who begin to learn a sport as adults will still progress through all the stages of LTAD, but the rate of progress will not be the same as for a child or adolescent beginner. However, LTAD is a starting point for ALL participants no matter what age.
LTAD promotes a healthy, physically literate nation whose citizens participate in lifelong sport and physical activity. An individual who is physically literate has a solid foundation of basic movement and motor skills, which has been developed through early exposure to a variety of physical activities and free play. LTAD supports the development of 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, recreational, competitive and elite sport programs.
Physical literacy also makes it easier for people to transfer from one sport to another and to continue sport participation throughout the lifespan. People who have been active in various sports as children can transfer these skills during adolescence and adulthood to facilitate learning of new sport skills, such as fencing.
This document adapts the principles of LTAD to describe an ideal environment for the development of fencers in Canada. It brings together the knowledge and experience of fencing experts and sport scientists, and outlines a development pathway for optimal personal achievement for all fencers regardless of age or level. While the pathway is common for all participants, the rate and extent of development will depend on the goals of individual participants.
The principles of LTAD are equally applicable to participants with a disability. While people with an intellectual disability generally do not participate in fencing programs, wheelchair fencing is developing in Canada, and clubs are gradually acquiring the specialized equipment necessary to support programs for participants with a physical disability. The rate at which a participant with a disability progresses through the stages of LTAD, and the age at which he or she enters each stage, will vary according to the individual and the nature of the disability.
For more information, please read the CFF LTAD Booklet