Speed Skating Canada working towards a new Long Term Athlete Development Model

In preparation for Vancouver 2010 and beyond, Speed Skating Canada (SSC) announces a year-long review and improvement to its athlete development model by incorporating a Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) philosophy.

With the assistance of Dr. Istvan Balyi, a leading international expert in planning and development, SSC and its key stakeholders are developing a framework for a Long Term Athlete Development model which will be based on the principles of human growth and development and how these can be applied to maximise the benefits of training.

“The need for such a guiding framework was established by different stakeholders of our membership in 2000 and is especially timely given that this area was last reviewed in 1988,” says Brian Rahill, Director of Operations for Speed Skating Canada.

“The LTAD framework is critical for our organisation to continue to grow and enhance the athlete and coach development programs that will shape our success in Vancouver 2010 and beyond.”

LTAD is about achieving optimal training, competition and recovery throughout an athlete’s career, particularly in relation to the important growth and development years of young people. If a long term approach to training is not adopted there is likely to be a plateau in performance, when growth and development slows significantly. This often leads to drop out before a speed skater has achieved their potential.

By implementing a LTAD plan Speed Skating Canada will achieve the following key objectives:

• Establish a clear skater development pathway

• Identify gaps in the current skater development pathway

• Realign and integrate the programs for developing skaters and skating in Canada so that there is a common speed skater development framework for all organisations

• Provide a planning tool, based on scientific research, for coaches and administrators

• Guide planning for optimal performance so that our speed skaters have the technical, tactical, physical and mental skills and abilities necessary for achieving excellence on the world stage

The LTAD plan will outline to coaches, parents, clubs, administrators and the speed skating community within Canada what a long term approach to training and preparation means. The plan will give detailed training and competition guidance that will be of assistance to speed skating program providers (clubs, provinces, regional and national training centres) in planning their programmes so that all speed skaters, whatever their talents, motivation and aspirations, have the opportunity and support to achieve their full potential and objectives

Work plan

In order to develop the structure and substance of a revised Athlete Development model, two working groups will be formed. One working group will focus on the Initiation/Introduction to Developmental segment of the entire spectrum with the second group concentrating on the Developmental to International/Elite phases of the model.

The Introduction to Development working group will be led by Speed Skating Canada’s Sport Development Director while the Development to Elite working group will be led by Speed Skating Canada’s High Performance Director.

Members of the working groups will be selected from a cross-section of individuals selected from SSC’s coaching development committee, national training centre and provincial sport organizations coaches/staff.


Working groups make assessment/evaluation of current vs. desired LTAD model: Aug/03

Working groups identify desired structure and components of new LTAD model Sept/03

Working groups develop structure and components of new LTAD Model Sept-Mar/03

Working groups report on progress to date on development of new LTAD model Dec/03

Working groups present LTAD model content & implementation plan Apr/04

1st Draft of LTAD model presented to 2004 Annual General Meeting June/04

Speed Skating Canada is the national governing body responsible for the advancement and growth of speed skating in Canada.