Exceleration follows the Long-Term Athlete Development model established by Athletics Canada. With young participants in the Adventure Tri (ages 4 – 7) and Kids of Steel (7 – 10) groups the focus is on basic physical literacy. In the Youth of Steel (11 – 14) and Youth Group (13 -19), participants also learn how to train and compete and receive instruction about nutrition, hydration and injury prevention. Principles of sport psychology, mental skills, ethics in sport and personal and social responsibility are emphasized to develop strong leadership and life skills that benefit athletes throughout their lives. Even those who do not wish to compete in triathlon benefit from the exercise and physical skills development that can transfer to other sports and help them continue to be active into adulthood.
Suggestions for the number of practices each week:
- 1-2 Practices a week: Sampling Triathlon with a focus on Fitness.
- 3-4 Practices a week: Focusing on Triathlon with a focus on Fitness (only doing triathlon) or Competition (doing other sports as well).
- 5-6 Practices a week: Focusing on Triathlon with a focus on Competition.
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.
Personal-Social Responsibility and Play
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.
Play in Today’s World
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 its 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)