In Canada the sport of volleyball is popular at all levels from elementary school to recreational both indoors and on the beach. There are literally hundreds of thousands of Canadians who are playing volleyball. Despite the large participant base the popularity of the indoor version of our sport has not translated into any significant results internationally. In the beach discipline, we have achieved some success and primarily by the men’s team of Heese and Child who won a bronze medal at the Atlanta Games in 1996, and who have consistently maintained a Top 20 world ranking. Moreover, current competitive results strongly suggest that we are continuing to lose ground to other countries.
Volleyball Canada’s current strategic plan identified the following objectives for our high performance teams:
• qualify the maximum number of teams for both the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
• win at least two medals.
Since indoor volleyball was included in the Olympic Games in 1964, we have had 22 Olympic qualifying opportunities, but have only qualifi ed a total of 6 times—with no podium finishes. Other volleyball disciplines have fared a little better, yet we have managed to win only two Olympic medals (1996 bronze in beach, 2000 silver in the Paralympics).
Still, the goal in six years is to qualify all teams and win two medals while continuing to support and adhere to the same athlete development model. Volleyball is not unique in its inability to achieve consistent, international success. There are many other sports in Canada that are also struggling.
This reality prompted Sport Canada to undertake a thorough review of the Canadian sports landscape to determine what we need to do in order to achieve our objectives as a sporting nation. The bottom-line is, if we want to achieve different results we need to change.
The Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers of Sport identified Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) as the framework for sport development in Canada. Ministers agreed to proceed with the implementation of this new approach to sport and physical activity in consultation with National, Provincial and Territorial Sport Organizations. Through the improvement of physical literacy (fundamental skills such as throwing, running and jumping), the LTAD model will help develop a life long involvement of Canadians in physical activity and sport participation as well as producing future athletes.
WHAT IS LTAD ?
LTAD is a training, competition, and recovery program. It establishes guidelines for coaches, athletes, administrators, and parents in all areas, including planning, training, competition, and recovery. It takes into account the ever-changing competitive program and the overall demands on the athletes. Long-term athlete development is also about identifying potential and providing appropriate developmental pathways for that potential to be fully realized. It is about ensuring that everyone who wants to learn sport has the opportunity. … The best sport development programs have a long-term vision, adapt and account for the rates at which an athlete matures rather than planning programs based solely on chronological age, are athlete centered, coach driven, but strongly supported by administration, sport science, and sponsors.
Robertson and Way - 2005
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT LTAD
Please refer to the following documents:
...to learn more about the generic LTAD model in Canada: www.ltad.ca .
...to learn more about the LTAD model and how it pertains to Indoor and Beach Volleyball:
Volleyball for life: Long Term Athlete Development for Volleyball in Canada.
Please note that this document is also available in hard copy through Volleyball Nova Scotia.