Exceleration is a springboard to lifelong participation in recreational and competitive sport. It is not just a sports club, it fosters respect for the individual and the community while teaching children to enjoy and play in a variety of safe physical activities. Exceleration welcomes people from all abilities and backgrounds.
At Exceleration, we believe in building people first, athletes second and triathletes third.
Our program discourages coaches and parents from pushing athletes into early specialization and training, and encourages support of the young athletes to explore the skills, self-motivation and playfulness that lead to the life-long love of sport, participation and competition.
What Does a Practice Look Like?
Busy, energetic, chaotic, with athletes MOVING everywhere all the time! Some parents wonder why their kids are “hanging around” on the monkey bars, careening down the slide with their arms and legs in the air, or balancing on the thin border of the playground with their eyes closed. Is this planned? It is just random chaos? What are the coaches DOING? Yes, it is planned. No, it is not random chaos (ok, some of it is PLANNED, random chaos!) The coaches are encouraging athletes to build a foundation of movement and kinesthesia (body awareness) that will allow them to engage in a wide variety of sports and physical pursuits. Read on.
“Physical literacy is the development of fundamental movement skills (FMA’s) and fundamental sport skills that permit a child to move confidently and with control is a wide range of physical activity, sport, and rhythmic activities. It includes the ability to “read” what is going on around them in an active setting and react appropriately to events in their environment. Just like “literacy” is the basis for lifelong reading skills, “physical literacy” is the foundation for lifelong enjoyment of sport and physical activity. (Adapted from Developing Physical Literacy – pdf )
At Exceleration we teach more than triathlon skills. We begin with Fundamental Movement Skills (FMAs) at young ages. These are integrated into different themes, activities, and games. A list of some basic FMAs are below. If children do not develop a wide range of FMA’s then they will have difficulty developing SPORT SPECIFIC skills as FMAs underlie the techniques and specific skills in all sports. For example, learning basic foot striking (kicking) will allow a child to learn soccer skills, swim skills (flutter, dolphin, and whip kick), football, rugby, and even hockey skills. We prepare athletes for a life in ANY sport!
- When we take into consideration the next 5, 10, 20, …80 years of an athlete’s athletic interests, we are following LTAD.
- When we take into consideration an athlete’s physical, emotional, social, and cognitive age (not just their chronological age) we are practicing LTAD.
- When we consider that many athletes are in sport for many different reasons and incorporate those reasons in every practice and program… we are following LTAD.
At Exceleration we understand that some kids are competitive and others are not. Some just love feeling the water, the wind, and the rain. Many just want to hang out with their friends. Others like to feel in control of their bodies and their minds. We incorporate ALL these motivations into our practices. The athletes choose when to move up a group or commit to more practices. If athletes are not enjoying the program, we encourage them to try different sports. Exceleration is an athlete-centred program.
Exceleration deals with athletes at the Active Start, FUNdamentals, Sampling, and Active for Life phases. We have some athletes looking toward Specializing, but most of our Youth are currently still Sampling. We are follow the principles and rules of Kids of Steel®, Triathlon Canada’s National Youth Development Program.
Summary of LTAD Growth and Development Principles
As young athletes grow there are ‘sensitive periods’ where certain skills or abilities are learned more quickly. Below is a very general summary of the major components we focus on at Exceleration in the physical domain at different ages. The reality of development is that every child is very different. Adaptability is one of the key tenets of the program as we are developing ALL the skills listed below at all age groups.
Ages 3 to 8
FUNdamental movement skills (FMA’s – see above). General movement ability in a variety of environments (on ice, in water, on grass, at the playground). Engage in a wide variety of skills (e.g. how many different ways can you move forward in the water? Kick a ball? Jump in the air?) Play-based sport (structured and unstructured)
Ages 8 to 12
FUNdamental sport skills (FMA’s applied to specific sports). Basic technique in a wide variety of sports. Core stability and control. For example, when FMA is inversions (going upside-down), the sport skills are diving, flip turns, falling safely, handstands etc. When FMA is rolling over glides in the pool, the sport skills are front crawl, back crawl, deep end water safety. Athletes are also introduced to the basics of training (warm-up, cool down, etc.)
Ages 13 to 18
Start of physiological training (speed, endurance, structured flexibility, core, etc.) Social aspect of sport is critical. Refine technique and advanced sport skills, assuming the athlete has a solid foundation of FMA’s and sport skills. For more information on growth, development, and the impact on sport, please, talk to the Exceleration coaches.
At Exceleration we teach athletes to be their own coaches and encourage them to develop the skills, knowledge, and decision making abilities to become informed athletes at all levels of participation. Integrated throughout ALL levels of our program from Adventure Tri (ages 4-6) to our Adult group (age = limitless!) we prescribe to the theory of “Purposeful Play”. People work their hardest, are resistant to failure, refuse interruption, and perform at their PEAK POTENTIAL when they are playing. Those who embrace this philosophy know the power of loving what you do in the moment…. Learning becomes a joy and progress becomes a by-product of passionate practice.
Everyone is welcome at Exceleration. We modify practices, teach inclusion, and welcome all children and adults. Inclusion means more than just welcoming people to participate. We talk with parents and athletes to help them get what they need to enjoy sport and succeed in life. Participants are encouraged to see everyone as people first, celebrating both our differences and similarities. Athletes do not need anything special to join. We will help find bikes, suits, and will support training costs.
… play is a child’s way of exploring the world. As children get older, their need for play doesn’t lessen—in fact, it increases—but we tend to devalue it’s importance. We want our children to excel in academics, learn an instrument, and to become computer literate, and in the process we deprive them of their time for unstructured play and sport. Yet their bodies still need it. And their minds certainly need exercise to release energy so they can stay focused on a task when they need to. Common sense reminds us of the paradox that we need to move so that we can be still.
It is so important …that we don’t project our adult perceptions of sport onto our children. Let them play, learn some new skills, and make friends. …kids want to play, and although they are developmentally and physically highly receptive to learning new skills, this has to be done in a fun context…. Structured and unstructured activities should be fun and children should be developing … physical literacy. We must find ways…of letting our kids use their imaginations to create play. (Laumann, 2006, pgs 35, 36, 118, 121)