At TOP Sports Kids, we believe that the foundation of all youth sports programs should be deeply rooted in fun, creativity, and play. The ultimate goal with all of our programs is to help our young athletes learn the basics of physical literacy and movement, incorporating aspects and psycho-social and behavioral development to create well-rounded young people. We use sports as a medium for promoting positive values, and it is our belief that the true value in sport comes from the larger life lessons that participants are able to take away. Teaching the value of leadership, discipline, respect, hard work, perseverance, and positive attitudes are the primary goals of our kids programs.
To make sure we are following the right progression for most children, the Canadian Sport for Life Long-Term Athletic Development model (LTAD) is a guiding light for all TOP Sports Kids programs. Sports programs at this age should focus on age-appropriate development and ensuring all players are learning to love sports. The focus should not be on wins, losses, and keeping score. The metrics for success need to be shifted in order to keep kids in sport longer, prevent mental and physical burnout, and provide kids with the best chance at success in sports, life, and beyond.
What Is LTAD?
Long-Term Athletic Development, or LTAD, is based on the physical, mental, emotional and cognitive development of children and adolescents. Each stage of the LTAD framework reflects a different point in athlete development, from Active Start for 4-5 years old to Sport for Life for adults, and everything in between. The LTAD framework provide a baseline structure for how programs should look, feel, and the elements that make up a high-quality sports experience.
Why Does It Matter?
The primary goal of LTAD is provide a framework to ensure that training, competition and recovery schedules are appropriate for an athlete at each specific stage of their growth and development. LTAD seeks to minimize potential mental and physical burnout that can occur when children are forced to develop too quickly, often leading to many athletes quitting sport entirely between ages 14-16.