SwimBC's Long-Term Athlete Development Principles

Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) is about optimal skill development, training, competition and recovery throughout an athlete’s career, particularly in relation to the important growth and development years. If a long-term approach to skill acquisition and training is not adopted, there is likely to be a plateau in performance, when growth and development slows significantly and when, for some swimmers, performance results may drop. At this point the short-term training approach cannot be reversed. This often leads to the swimmer leaving the sport prior to having achieved anything close to their ultimate potential 

There are five clear reasons for embracing a long-term approach to athlete development:

  • To establish a clear swimmer development path;
  • To identify gaps in the current swimmer development path;
  • To realign and integrate programs for developing swimmers and swimming in British Columbia;
  • To provide a planning tool, based on scientific research, for coaches, parents and administrators
  • To guide planning for optimal performance

 It is anticipated that the principles of LTAD will be used to review existing swimming initiatives led by Swim BC and Swimming/Natation Canada, and inform any future initiatives. It is hoped that all swimming providers will use LTAD in a similar way. This will enable the swimming community to pull in one direction towards achieving our Provincial and National goals.

Sport Canada and the Canadian Sport Centres have published the Canadian Sport for Life resource paper. A parent's guide is available below, as well as Swimming Canada's own Long-Term Athlete Development Strategy.

Suggested readings (Amazon links; most have free samples to preview on Kindle apps/devices):