"Theoretical Basis of Long Term Athlete Development for Macedonian Whitewater Canoe/Kayak Federation"
This theoretical model of the Macedonian Whitewater Canoe/kayak athlete development is based on the Canadian L.T.A.D. Long-Term Athlete Development model.
Long Term Athlete Development is an interesting concept in the growth, maturation and development of young athletes. I found L.T.A.D. an interesting model because it provides a guide of progression for an athlete from their first introduction of sports, until their later years in life. It not only focuses on skill development and competition, it also shows the importance of involvement is sports after the athlete's competitive years have.
This theoretical model is coming from the Canadian L.T.A.D. Long-Term Athlete Development
I wanted to use L.T.A.D. project because I found a interesting things how to provide a longer and interesting life for the athletes from there first steps, till they stop to train and started new stile of life.
Using L.T.A.D. for all athletes
L.T.A.D. base can be use from all athletes from different sports can be use from grassroots till they become a top athletes
Implementing L.T.A.D. in kayaking on wild water in Macedonia
Sports in Macedonia are not good structured, so athletes are stopping weary early.
Same things are happening in kayaking because we don't have good structured programs for young athletes but my opinion is that if we implement L.T.A.D. program for young athletes that we will have good results in couple of years.
(Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, Treats)
The strengths of Macedonian Whitewater Canoe/Kayak Federation are strong, we has a proven results in competition. We have two Facilities and we are asking from the government to get, one more which will help to make good athletes inside the country where we have a good athlete but they don't have where to train.
History in canoeing it's our strong side too because we have hold two big races, one is World Championship in 1975 and European Championship in 2004 on which we made a good results, every year we have a International races hold in Macedonia, and like the world and European championship and the international race is covered by the media.
This year we have a plan to make a, three competitions for grassroots, which will be covered from the media. So I can say that we have good strengths to make good progress for the kayaking in Macedonia, and to come back with good results like we have back in 70ts.
Like many small sports, we all exhibit many of the same problems. The main problem that whitewater canoe/kayak has is a lack of financial support. No immediate solution appears likely especially with the current worldwide economic. Government financial support is nonsexist for Olympic sports. Cooperate sponsorship is limited and they seem to focus their spending on more traditional sports like football, handball and in other collective sports. The biggest finances are coming from the Macedonian Olympic Committee. Because of the finances we are not able to provide the whole program with competitions from the ICF calendar, and because of that I'm afraid that we will fall down with our results.
Our second weakness it's coaching. The Macedonian Whitewater Canoe/Kayak Federation only has five coaches and only one of the five coaches really has appropriate education. The Macedonian Government is asking all National Federations who work with young children to have coaches who are well educated. Currently Macedonian Whitewater Canoe/Kayak Federation has three coaches who are ex-paddlers, enrolled in a coaching education program. This will be a good base for the development of educated coaches.
Our third weakness is logistics. Like every team we need people who will help, like physiotherapist, psychologist, cameramen. All of this makes the team complete and compact so we can have better results.
Opportunities for Macedonian Canoe Federation
From the beginning when the Macedonian canoe federation was found we have good results and in last 18 years when canoe become Olympic sport from Barcelona till Beijing we have all the time athletes who were on the Olympics game, and they made a good results, and not only on the Olympics on the worlds and Europeans too.
Macedonia has always had talents in this sport which is a good pre-condition for establishing a good training program and making good results. Still, due to certain weaknesses we are losing such talents who we can't keep long enough in order to achieve good results on the senior competitions.
Because of the good training conditions in Macedonia such as favorable weather conditions and good water many teams from abroad come to train on our courses and to compete. That's a good opportunity for establishing even better cooperation in the future.
The biggest loss suffered by the Macedonian kayak is the loss of young competitors due to lack of financial funds which would stimulate the young competitors to continue their sports career. From the research I have made so far , the young athletes quit due to lack of finances and the age at which they usually stop their career is 23 years i.e. after finishing university. This problem must be dealt with because every year we lose more and more competitors and I think that the Government as well should find its interest which would stimulate such young competitors.
By losing young competitors we lose the interest among the young population for this sort and it is more than clear that without young talents we are slowly losing the paddlers who are yet to become top athletes. This results in losing the already small finances from the state, which would further result in losing the kayak as a professional sport.
The state institutions should only be service of the sports federations and not to interfere into their functioning and organization which should be independent. This is the case in our country, namely the state institutions want to be in charge of everything.
LTAD focuses on the general framework of athlete development with special reference to growth, maturation and development, trainability, and sport system alignment and integration. It incorporates information from a number of sources. It draws on the experiences of various athlete development projects that have been implemented by different sport organizations in British Columbia since the mid-
1990s. It also draws from LTAD work with NSOs including Basketball Canada, the Canadian Curling Association, Speed Skating Canada, the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, and the Report of the Minister of State's (Sport) Work Group on Sport for Persons with a Disability (2004).
The health and well-being of the nation and the medals won at major Games are simple by-products of an effective sport system.
This document is fully based on and supported by the coaching and exercise science literature, but it is written particularly for coaches and technical and administrative sport leaders.
Active Start Age:0-6
After the first few years of the child's life, physical activities, and movements with some purpose is introduced. The child is improving the movements to conquer some space, moving some toys and things around him. The constant touching of different objects contributes for the development of the child's perception of shapes of the objects surrounding them. In that way the child through the movement, crawling, walking, climbing, turning over, carrying things physically develops its body, and through the physical activity the brain develops as well, i.e. there is bigger and bigger harmonization between the child's working motor skills.
In this period it is specifically developed the motor skills of performing movements with the lower extremities and this is: crawling, walking, climbing, jumping, running, sliding, creeping intensively develop the balance, coordination and the child gets into its first physical shape. In this first stage we can say that the child roughly develops all forms of movement and towards the end of their third year they can perform reproduction of different types of movements.
At this stage, as a special form of physical activity there can be used games with different objects, toys, balls, balloons as well as the functional games with different objects and without objects.
General for children of this psychomotor age is development of the child's general motor skills what is characteristic is that the first motor combinations are created for creating:
-Creating stereotypes of movement, i.e. creating own movement models.
In this period the motor skills increase and they are better manifested out of which the most manifested are the speed, balance of their own body, the coordination, the motor management of their own body, the strength and endurance are increased.
Thus, well-structured training is necessary for children at this age.
FUN and part of daily life
Fitness and movement skills development
Focus on learning proper movement skills such as running, jumping, wheeling, twisting, kicking, throwing, and catching
Not sedentary for more than 60 minutes except when sleeping
Some organized physical activity
Exploration of risk and limits in safe environments
Active movement environment combined with well-structured gymnastics and swimming programs
Fundamentals Age: males 6-9
What is most characteristic for this stage of life is the first day at school. In their seventh year the child acquires new qualities both physically and psychologically. The motor movement depends of the genetic heredity of the child, such as the type of the nervous system, the child's medical condition and on the liability of the nervous processes etc. Generally speaking, at this age the motor activity at a very high level and every little stimulation that reminds of movement creates motor activity or action in the child. The strength is still pretty weak and discrepant; there is also a discrepancy between the vegetative functions and the locomotive apparatus. This age is generally considered to be the best period for the children to start doing sports, but there should also taken into consideration that at this age the children are emotionally very vulnerable so they must be treated very carefully at the trainings.
But in the ninth year of age the strength is slowly improving as well as the reaction which is very important in the white water kayak, so for a nine-year old child the latent duration of sudden reaction of upper extremity amounts to 0.30 seconds, and for a child two years younger it amounts to 0.60 seconds, so during those two years the reaction has accelerated.
Since in this period most of the motor abilities are already developed enough so at the age of seven the child is already prepared to sit in a kayak. Certainly it would be useful that all the exercises for holding the paddle and for sitting into the kayak to be repeated on land first and then it the water, and that is exercises such as holding the paddle, spinning the paddle and then to repeat all this in water. Those children that started to train from their 6th year should have already mastered all these elements and they should be able to work on flat and wild water of course on a course suitable for their age.
The white water kayaking requires early searching for talents because the sport itself requires early perfection of the techniques, and also important is to avoid the factor –fear from water.
At this age the children mustn't be burdened with various periodizations and trainings in the gym, what is important is that what is worked to be well structured and correctly done, so well structured training four times a week is enough. It important that in this period the child learns the technique and the balance because what they learn to do correctly will stay until the end of their sports career. What is also very important at this stage is to talk to the young children about the sports ethics and their behavior on trainings competitions even how a young athlete should behave out of the courts.
Overall movement skills
FUN and participation
General, overall development
Integrated mental, cognitive, and emotional development
ABC's of Athleticism: agility, balance, coordination, and speed
ABC's of Canoeing: balance, holding the paddle, stroke, technique
Medicine ball, Swiss ball, own body strength exercises
Introduce simple rules of ethics of sport
Screening for talent
No periodization, but well-structured programs
Daily physical activity
Learning to Train Age: males 9-12
This is the most important stage for the development of sport specific skills as it is a period of accelerated learning of coordination and fine motor control. It is also a time when children enjoy practicing skills they learn and seeing their own improvement It is still too early for specialization in late specialization sports but for canoeing it's good to start with early specialization because as I early say to run away from problems with the water. Although many children at this age will have developed a preference for one sport or another, for full athletic development they need to engage in a broad range of activities, playing at least 2-3 different sports. While competition is important, it is learning to compete that should be the focus – not winning.
For best long-term results 70% of time in the sport should be spent in practice technique on wild water because how he will learn the technique now it will stay for his whole carrier and, with only 30% of the time spent on competition as we will have this season two grassroots competitions and one national competition .
This is an important time to work on flexibility, which is one of important things in canoeing, we should develop endurance through games and relays.
Things to think about:
This is the time to develop and refine all fundamental movement skills, and learn overall sport skills. The brain is nearing adult size and complexity and is capable of very refined skill performance. Late developers (those who enter puberty later than their peers) have an advantage when it comes to learning skills as the Learn to Train stage lasts longer for them.
By this age children have developed clear ideas about the sports they like and in which they feel they have success, and this should be encouraged. The focus should be on playing two more sports in different seasons like in skiing and swimming . Focusing only on one sport year round should be discouraged and in couple years can come that the athlete will be .continue to encourage children to engage in unstructured physical play with their friends everyday, regardless of the weather. Enroll children in minor sport programs each season, and have them try different positions or events – they might find something they are very good at that was unexpected.
Encourage children to take every opportunity to play different sports at school, during physical education classes, intramurals or on school teams if their school has them. Try to have children take part in some land-based, some water-based and some snow/ice based activities. Keep children working on flexibility, speed, endurance and strength. My opinion is they don't need trainings with medicine ball and own weight exercises it's good only playing on the water. Keep sport and physical activity FUN.
Overall sport skills development particularly technique
Major skill learning stage: all basic sport skills should be learned before entering Training to Train
Integrated mental, cognitive, and emotional development
Introduction to mental preparation
Medicine ball, Swiss ball, own body strength exercise
Introduce ancillary capacities
Single or double periodization
Sport specific training 5 times week
Training to Train Age: male 12-16
The stage training to train in which the age limit for males is 12-16, is used to teach the young athletes, certainly those who are already active in the white water kayaking and wish continue, how to train, what the training would look like, how to know when they are making mistakes, how to recognize their maximum etc.
My personal opinion is that at this stage it is early to begin with working with weights but they can begin training in gyms training with their own weight and medicine balls so that they can improve their strength. Children at this age, as already mentioned, train 6 to 9 times per week an hour and a half daily, of which 5 trainings on water, 2 trainings in the gym and 2 times running.
As in every sport the strength is important in the kayak as well, and I think that at this stage we should still concentrate on working in water, i.e. white water as much as possible as well as different courses, of course those suitable for the age, although 16-year olds are juniors and compete at the world and European competitions so working on white water is still crucial for making a good result.
Although in this period many of the competitors already compete at many international competitions, we have to bear in mind that some of these children are still in their puberty and are pretty vulnerable so we should still be very careful how we are treating them and their feelings. We should also work on their mental preparation and of course, in case of failure to encourage them in order to keep their interest in sport.
Single or double periodization is important for this period in which the children learn how to train so that when they enter the stage training to compete to be already familiar with what to do and how to do it.
The first part of the periodization is the basic period in which the athletes should work on raising the aerobics and strength and in this period it is good to combine it with preparations on some mountain by including the winter sports such as skiing, but mostly ski-running which is necessary for the young athletes to improve their aerobics.
The second part of periodization would include the competitive period in which training on white water is very important, what is also important is for the young athletes to have as many races as possible on wild water and with children at same age and with same technical and tactical preparation, and only 6-9 correctly done trainings per week are enough.
Sport specific skill development particularly working on wild water
Major fitness development stage: aerobic and strength.
Integrated mental, cognitive, and emotional development
Develop mental preparation
Introduce free weights
Develop ancillary capacities
Frequent musculoskeletal evaluations during PHV
Single or double periodization
Sport specific training 6-9 times per week
Training to Compete Age: male 16-23 +/-
This stage is complicated for the male population because some of the children are still in their puberty and we must be very careful how we treat them and at the same time in this stage the competitors enter the junior category and at 19 they are already seniors where they will face much stronger competition and we as coaches have to try to prepare them both physically and psychologically for the big events, and this understands that proper pedagogic measures must be taken in order to establish good contact with the competitors.
Already in the previous stage the athletes were taught how to train and they have already been introduced to the sport, so this period should be based on good physical preparation for which there should be used single, double and triple periodization , depending on the competitions which are important for that year and we should focus towards them. In this sport every year there is World and European Competitions so they are the goal of every coach. Most favorable would be the triple periodization , the first part would include basic physical preparation consisting of Aerobic trainings, gym, running and of course if the club can afford it , it would be good to send its athletes on mountain preparations before starting the anaerobic training. Below is the table of trainings during the week, in the basic period.
It is recommended to do all these trainings in a group which is especially true both for the younger children and the older ones to create competition among them during the trainings, and at the same time it is recommended participation on as many competitions as possible irrespective of their character.
Sport, event, position-specific physical conditioning
Sport, event, position-specific technical tactical preparation on wild water
Sport, event, position-specific technical and skills under competitive conditions lot of races
Integrated mental, cognitive, and emotional development
Advanced mental preparation
Single, double, or triple periodization
Sport specific technical, tactical and fitness training 9-12 times per week
Training to Win Age: males 19+/-
At this age the competitors should already be completely familiar and introduced into the training program , both in physical and psychological aspect. As a coach we must perfectly understand the psychophysical profile of the competitors, in order to provide easier improvement of capacities. As a technical sport the kayak requires daily improvement of the technical and tactical approaches, since this sport is characterized with different kayak courses and making proper adjustments to such courses. In this period the competitor should already be able to introduce his/her own novelties regarding the technique on white water, and of course all this should be supported and monitored by the coach.
Since here we are talking about the training stage "train to win" , each performance should be as correct as possible and to repeat as many times as possible the movement in the same perfect way, so it would become a mechanical movement. All those new and repeated, well learnt movements the competitor reaches a stage in which he/she should use such movements to win. The coach should pay attention to creating a perfect training program, which will be supported by excellent information and tactical periodization for the main competitions.
In this stage it is better to use multiple periodization unlike in the previous stage where triple periodization was used, because we have competitors who compete on a great number of competitions and where they should give their maximum. The ICF program itself imposes that the competitor has top performance on many competitions and collects points for the next season.
Multiple periodization competitors are professionals and very few of them fail in their maximum performance and with respect to the basic preparations two months are enough. Everything else is specific preparation and certainly many competitions but still not too many not to cause
Ages are sport specific based on international normative data
Maintenance or improvement of physical capacities
Further development of technical, tactical, and working on wild water
Modeling all possible aspects of training and performance
Single, double, triple, or multiple periodization
Sport specific technical, tactical, and fitness training 9-15 times per week
Active for Life Age: This may occur at any age
The white water slalom kayak is a technical sport so it enables competitors to stay active for longer period. There were examples at the Beijing Olympics at which there were competitors in their 40s.
After finishing the sports career, especially for the top athletes, it is important not to make a sudden stop of their physical activity. Instead, it is good for them to transfer to some other sport and to have 60 minutes moderate activity in that sport, which could be football, basketball etc., and to go from competitive sport to recreational activities.
Minimum of 60 minutes moderate daily activity or 30 minutes of intense activity for adults
Transfer from one sport to another
Move from highly competitive sport to lifelong competitive sport through age group competition
Move from competitive sport to recreational activities
We can use them to help in the federation
Implementation Time Frame
Making a plan to implement the project
Explore why are they stopping in there early stages and factors for early stopping
Implementation of the first two stages till September 2009
Implementation of the stages train to train and train to win till September 2009
Implementation of the whole project will take 10 to 15 years
Evaluation of Project
Were the stages of L.T.A.D. developed?
Plan ready for implementation June 2009
-Was the early stage of L.T.A.D implemented in September?
-Were the later stages of L.T.A.D. developed?