Physical, Mental, Cognitive & Emotional Development

Physical, Mental, Cognitive and Emotional Development

Long term participant and athlete development works to develop the whole athlete and the individuals surrounding the athlete – combining quality physical training with training and support for mental, emotional and cognitive development. Physical changes are not the only consideration.

It is critical to take a holistic approach to athlete development considering the physical, mental, cognitive and emotional development of athletes. All training, competition, and recovery programs should consider the mental, cognitive, and emotional development of each skater. Along with the physical, technical, and tactical development, speed skating requires a considerable amount of decision making skills. Building these skills and the capacity for decision training should be integrated into the stages of development to enhance the mental, cognitive, and emotional development of the skaters. Considerations to the skater’s cognitive ability should be considered when programming, and progressing these skills, as should the incoportation of team based activities which significantly contribute to the social development of participants.

For more information consult the following tables from Racing on Skates:

A major objective of long term athlete development is a holistic approach, something which is embeded directly into Speed Skating Canada's Core Values. This includes emphasis on ethics, fair play, and character building throughout the various stages. Programming should be designed to consider athletes’ cognitive ability to address these concepts. This is why the first Guiding Principle for competitions and events is for all competitions and events to reflect Speed Skating Canada's Values and True Sport's Principles.

For ideas and strategies for incorporating ethical behaviour into your training check out the Living True Sport...from the Start Matrix.

The contents of this page were prepared using information from SSC's Racing on Skates and Find Your Edge document as well as resources from Canadian Sport for Life. To learn more about the Active Start stage of development and Physical Literacy visit and