WHAT IS CANADIAN SPORT FOR LIFE (CS4L) AND LONG-TERM ATHLETE DEVELOPMENT (LTAD)?
CS4L is a movement to improve the quality of sport and physical activity in Canada. CS4L links sport, education, recreation and health and aligns community, provincial and national programming. LTAD is a multi-stage training, competition and recovery pathway guiding an individual’s experience in sport and physical activity from infancy through all phases of adulthood. CS4L, with LTAD, represents a paradigm shift in the way Canadians lead and deliver sport and physical activity in Canada.
As parents, we recognize that sports and physical activity play an important role in our children’s healthy growth and development, but recently physical activity has suffered serious decline among Canadian children.
Medical and sport research shows that our children are increasingly at risk for obesity and disease due to low levels of activity and poor nutritional habits. Some experts have also suggested that Canada is producing declining performances in international competition due to a lack of physical activity and sport development during childhood years. Your child may already be involved in physical activity and sports, or you may be wondering how to get your child started.
The goal of this booklet is to help you understand the needs of young athletes and what may be done to promote their best interests in staying active and healthy. In these pages you will read about Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD), a model for development in physical activity and sport that not only provides a safe, enjoyable, and progressive pathway for children to pursue healthy physical activity, but also provides a pathway to excellence.
Although Long-Term Athlete Development in cheerleading is a relatively new concept, it is a tried-and-tested approach which identifies sequential stages for training and competition that respects athletes’ physical, mental, and emotional development.
This approach encourages lifelong physical activity for athletes of all levels of ability and disability, and it also provides an effective route for athletes to pursue excellence at the national and international level of competition. The number of stages differs slightly between early specialization and late specialization sports, and early specialization sports have especially unique requirements that affect the definition of their LTAD stages.