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athlete pat h ways believe support strengthen future

Spring 2016

The Sport System Needs Athlete Graduates - Not Retirees

Also inside: Starting Stage - Water Polo Canada Speed Skating Canada - Athlete & Sport Develoment through Event Hosting Aboriginal LTPD - Update 2016

DEAR SPORT PROGRAM ENTHUSIAST We love to witness how passionate our sport community is in creating opportunities to see our youth having fun and developing their personal and athletic skills! With spring upon us throughout the country, we are experiencing many transitions – from winter to summer sport and from indoor to outdoor activities. Throughout it all, the energy of youth is on display with this feeling of rejuvenation. This issue of the Athlete Pathways SIRCuit addresses the various opportunities of transition. Whether it be a move into a new program or sport, a move towards a more competitive sport program, or a graduation from high performance sport; transitions open new doors and new opportunities to experience sport in a variety of environments. We are particularly thrilled to be sharing the update on the Aboriginal Long-Term Participant Development 1.0 (ALTPD) resources. These resources developed together with the Sport for Life Society and Aboriginal Sport Circle will be instrumental in helping children become physically literate, defining a pathway for athletes and having Aboriginal people active for life.. Other articles in this issue encourage us to learn from each other with features on: • starting stages in the sport of water polo; • the role of event hosting in developing athletes and sport as a whole (Speed Skating); • how to help growing adolescent athletes avoid injuries; • building leadership skills in young women; and • new research examining opportunities to provide culturally safe sport programming. The excitement of spring is the perfect time to look at how to leverage new opportunities in sport programming. Growth and development through sport nurtures our young athletes, and strengthening points of transition through sport, empowers us all. Thank you for making sport better in Canada. Sincerely,




years of age is the optimal time period for developing and learning a range of skills


minutes is the maximum amount of time a child should be at rest at a time except during sleep


key factors influencing Aboriginal Long-Term Participant Develoment

Debra Gassewitz President & CEO, SIRC

Come for the sport resources, stay for the great network. Join thousands leveraging our resources every day.


is the optimal ratio of training to competition in the Learn to Train stage


We Empower Sport SIRC is the leading expert in sport content analysis and communication 2



athletes received tuition support in 2015

WHAT’S INSIDE The Sport System Needs Athlete Graduates Not Retirees


Alan Zimmermann, Director, Policy and Planning at Sport Canada talks about the need for good transition programs that redirect athlete sport experience back into sport.


Rapid growth can often make young bodies feel awkward or off-balance. Coaches can do their part to head off injuries by being aware of the changes in a young athlete’s body.


Starting Stage - Water Polo Children should be experiencing a wide variety of sporting opportunities in their development stages in order to encourage their pursuit of an active lifestyle. We talk with Water Polo Canada as they share their story in providing opportunities for developing athletes.

Speed Skating Canada: Athlete and Sport Development through Event Hosting


We talked with Ian Moss, CEO, Speed Skating Canada, about their recent experiences in hosting high profile events in Canada and how this impacts sport development in general, and athlete and coach development specifically.

Aboriginal LTPD

Growing Pains: How can coaches help prevent injuries in adolescent athletes?


Preparing for the Future: Building Leadership Skills in Young Women


There are many factors that have led to the lack of representation of women in leadership roles and one way to address this issue is to focus on teaching leadership skills to girls starting at a young age.

Current Research: Managing Diversity to Provide Culturally Safe Sport Programming


Sharing highlights of a recent article examining management of diversity and cultural safety training for instructors in sport programming.

The purpose of these resources is to increase the percentage of Aboriginal children who are physically literate, to define and ensure better support for Aboriginal athletes into the sport performance pathway and, to have more Aboriginal people being active for life.


p.6 p.14 Athlete Pathways SIRCuit is partially funded by FRANÇAIS

AT H L E T E PAT H W AY S - S P R I N G 2016


THE SPORT SYSTEM NEEDS ATHLETE GRADUATES - NOT RETIREES Alan Zimmermann, Director, Policy and Planning Sport Canada

• What are the non-athletic interests of my sport’s high performance athletes? • What skill sets are frequently identified as gaps in my sport? Is it coaching? Governance? Business?


to quality coaches and officials, people with finance, marketing and leadership skills are also needed at the local, provincial and national levels. We know that high performance athletes gain a wealth of sport experience during their athletic careers. High performance athletes seem to be an untapped resource. What National Sport Organizations and high performance athletes need are good transition What is really happening is not a programs that redirect this sport retirement. It is a transition. It is a experience back into the sport in many transition that brings with it new different ways. opportunities to continue on with the sport. This is why I prefer the term Sport leaders and athletes are missing ‘graduation’. ‘Graduation’ implies that an enormous opportunity to work there is something next, something together. One of the expectations we more to come. Another reason I prefer see in the Accountability Targeted ‘graduation’ is the association of both Sport Measures for funded National knowledge and potential. So what if Sport Organizations is that a robust instead of retiring our high performance athlete transition program would athletes we graduated them? How might include targeted information and athletes and sport leaders approach resources for athletes emphasizing planning for a ‘graduation’ instead of a sport-specific options. To build an effective transition strategy, sport ‘retirement’? leaders should be considering the Right now the sport system needs needs and opportunities within the people with a wide variety of talent and whole of their sport, including asking skills to deliver quality sport. In addition themselves a few key questions such as: oo often, I have heard athletes refer to the eventual end of their high performance athletic career as a ‘retirement’. True there may be some things in common between retirement in the work-life sense of the word and the end of an athlete’s pursuit of high performance goals. But I find ‘retirement’ to be an imperfect analogy. There is too much finality implied.



• Where would a graduating high performance athlete’s experience, knowledge and non-athletic interests be valuable and fill these gaps in my sport? • How can my sport match sport system volunteer and professional opportunities to the experience, knowledge and non-athletic interests of my sport’s graduating high performance athletes? • What can my sport do to help athletes transition to a post-athletic career, and emphasize my sportspecific opportunities? When considering answers to that last question, sport leaders could take advantage of programs that are already available to high performance athletes. For example, through Sport Canada’s Athlete Assistance Program (AAP), the Government of Canada provides tuition support to help athletes who meet high performance training and competitive requirements, obtain a post-secondary level education. Deferred tuition is also

“ What is really happening is not a retirement. It is a transition. It is a transition that brings with it new opportunities to continue on with the sport ... Right now the sport system needs people with a wide variety of talent and skills to deliver quality sport ... [and] high performance athletes seem to be an untapped resource “

AAP - Did You Know? Full-time or part-time degree, diploma, or certificate programs at eligible schools qualify for tuition support. Degree programs may be undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate or professional. National Coaching Certification Program courses qualify for tuition support. The maximum amount payable is $5,000 per carding cycle up to a lifetime maximum of $25,000. In 2015: • 451 athletes received tuition support • 270 athletes received deferred tuition support


available to assist athletes who wait to pursue post-secondary education while carded because of their involvement in high performance sport. ‘Game Plan’ is an initiative recently launched by the Canadian Olympic Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, the Government of Canada and the Canadian Sport Institutes. Game Plan, offered through each Canadian Sport Centre and Institute, helps athletes transition by providing access to information and counselling support for career management, mental health, mentorship, networking and skill development. By coordinating NSO initiatives to encourage graduating athletes to work within the sport system with post-secondary support available through the AAP and Game Plan, sport leaders can facilitate high performance athlete transitions. All of these factors raise the importance of sport leaders and athletes working together to create/improve athlete transition programs. Using Game Plan, sport leaders can raise athletes’ awareness of the importance of getting an early start on postathletic career planning. The AAP can help athletes get the education they need for their next career. By being knowledgeable of the needs and gaps of their sport, sport leaders can help graduating athletes match posthigh performance athletic career ambitions with opportunities

within the sport system. Paving the way for graduating athletes to be reintegrated into the sport, whether as coaches, officials, volunteers or professionals, improves the sustainability of the sport system and ultimately contributes to the development of the next generation of athletes. u

To learn more about the Government of Canada’s support to our country’s sport system and our athletes, all the way from playground to podium, please visit or join Sport Canada on Facebook and Twitter.

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athlete pat h ways bel ieve support strengthen future

Winter 2016

Successful transitions are one component of a strong and aligned sport system


Also inside: Voices from the Community: Starting Stage Nakkertok Cross-country Ski Club Canada Basketball Creating Meaningful Sport Opportunities for Young Athletes with a Disability Examining Coaches Adoption and Implementation of the LTAD model Coaching – Keeping Sport Fun for All How do I recruit youth volunteers for my sport program?

AT H L E T E PAT H W AY S - W I N T E R 2016


AT H L E T E PAT H W AY S - S P R I N G 2016





hildren should be experiencing a wide variety of sporting opportunities in their development stages in order to encourage their pursuit of an active lifestyle. The goal is to create programs that share Canada’s love for sport with an intense desire to see our youth having fun and ultimately continuing on a pathway to develop their athletic and life skills. SIRC talks with Water Polo Canada as they share their story in providing opportunities for developing athletes. What do you love most about Water Polo? Water Polo can be considered a complete sport which has the ability to benefit many age groups and skill levels. It can be as intense or as playful as the players involved desire it to be. For younger children, water polo combines the appeal of the water with the pure fun of playing with a colorful ball, in the hope of scoring many goals. For



teenagers and adults, it offers an appealing physical challenge and a great level of social interaction. At the highest level, top water polo players are among the best conditioned athletes in the world. It is just amazing to see them execute complex plays and push through the limits of stamina while battling both their opponents and the surrounding water. It is a sport where there is a lot going on, rarely boring, never the same twice.

What is the most popular program (as well as stage and/ or age) for initial sign up to Water Polo? Why? Most children get their first taste of water polo through the initiation of an older sibling or a parent who played in their youth. Aquatic installations and water polo clubs renting these facilities often offer initiation clinics or free try-outs which can be a good way to evaluate an individual’s affinities with the sport. Some athletes just start playing after having had their first experiences swimming around with just any ball in a pool or another body of water in the summer. There are no specific entry points to sign up for water polo. Once you know you can swim well enough and you like being in the water, the best way is to find the nearest club at a local pool and to attend a few practices or friendly games.

From which other sports do you often see athletes transfer to water polo? Water Polo at any level requires some basic water skills, so it is only normal that competitive swimming is the most frequent sport that athletes transfer from. Several athletes will explain that they enjoyed swimming and being in the water but had gotten bored with the repetitive and individual aspect of competitive swimming. Crossover also occurs with several land-based team sports such as soccer, handball or even volleyball.

What is the latest point to transfer into your sport and still experience high performance success? Rare are the athletes who can enter the sport past their early teenage years and hope to experience high performance success.

Would you consider Water Polo ideally suited for early and/or late entry? Why? Water Polo is well suited for early entry since it has a unique effect of helping participants further develop skills linked to water safety. Also, for most athletes, it takes several years to acquire the fine understanding of the game and to develop the conditioning levels required to perform in the high level games. Due to the variety and low impact of movement in water, there are fewer risks related to overspecialization or injuries. For athletes wishing to excel in this sport, the earlier they start developing core competencies the better.

What life skills does Water Polo help to teach? Due to its relative complexity, Water Polo tends to develop individuals who are able to analyze and process a lot of different information and elements at the same time, which translates really well into professional success later in life. Water Polo can teach participants how to take responsibility and collaborate toward a common objective, how to keep cool under pressure, how to deal with success and failure. There are a lot of parallels to be drawn between the skills learned in the pool and the way the athletes behave once they are out in the world. u

For more information on Water Polo: Website: Twitter: Facebook: FRANÇAIS

AT H L E T E PAT H W AY S - S P R I N G 2016





vent hosting has been examined numerous times in terms of its benefits to the host city, and in terms of national and international events, it’s social and economic impacts on the region or country. However, event hosting also provides benefits more directly applicable to sport and to athletes. SIRC talks with Ian Moss, CEO, Speed Skating Canada, about their recent experiences in hosting high profile events in Canada and how this impacts sport development in general, and athlete and coach development specifically. What were the lessons learned through hosting events such as the 2015-2016 ISU Short Track Speed Skating World Cup in Toronto? It all comes down to the volunteers and the Organizing Committee, that is the core. The commitment that they display at the club level and the scope of volunteers that come forward in numbers to support the club and the event. They can range anywhere from a city worker to a CEO, they all come together for the love of sport. This is one area that we don’t often look at when it comes to education in the hosting context, the Organizing Committee. What is the quality of the Organizing Committee? And have we provided them with the tools to improve or to move forwards in term of creating better competitions or events?



Did you do anything notable or special at the recent Toronto World Cup that stood out in terms of organization? This was the first time we have hosted the Toronto World Cup, so from that point of view we had to take on a lot that nobody had ever done. I think the ability to come together in a 6-month period, with a brand new Organizing Committee combined with the Speed Skating Canada staff, and selling the event out was a pretty exceptional experience. There was a lot of learning-on-the-go, as well as having the usual challenges of amateur sport beng able to capture the media attention and the public interest, especially in a market like Toronto. If there was anything we learned, it is that we have the collective knowledge around event management. We knew we had it, but to do it so quickly and for it to work as well as it did, I think was the best measure of success.

What is the advice that you would give to another sport if they were going to host an event like this? You have to know the market first. Depending on what your outcomes or goals are for that competition. If it is purely just to run a good technical event, then that is one perspective. But if you want it to be an experience as well, for the public and for the media, then that’s another. Knowing the interest in the market place, to attend and to promote the event, is key. Sometimes Organizing Committees tend to focus primarily on running the event and there is less focus on the promotion of the event. For us, it was understanding that there was almost an insatiable appetite to have Short Track Speed Skating back in Toronto, it hadn’t been back in about 60 years in terms of a World international competition and so we took the opportunity to bring it back. And it turned into a great success.

From an athlete development point of view, what were the key takeaways from hosting an event like the World Cup? The athletes accomplished great success at the World Cup, experiencing many record results. When it comes to hosting at this level, I think it is important that Canada maintains a commitment to hosting international competitions.

“kids want to dream! Our challenge collectively is to make sure that we always have strong role models for the next generation”

There are a million different benefits, but particularly from an athlete and coach perspective, you always get a bigger team quota when you host. It provides the opportunity for some athletes to get on a team that they wouldn’t otherwise. For example, this year we had a young athlete added to the team due to the larger quota size, later in the year she ended up going to some other World Cups and really improving. So that definitely showed the benefit. Again, profile for the sport is key in your home country or region. Creating the buzz, making the public more aware of your athletes; and more than your athletes, the excitement of your sport as well. The challenge then becomes, how do you follow it up? What do you do as the next step? For us, we do traditionally host annual competitions, but we move them around because there is quite an appetite in different parts of the country for our sport. So what we have to do for Toronto and this event, is say to them, “We will be back and we will be back with a worldclass level of competition”.

How do coaches benefit from events hosted in Canada? First and foremost, coaches love the opportunity to be at home, even if it is not their home city, they love competing in Canada and have the fans cheer for them. And having the television coverage at home is key for us as well. Obviously being at home is a little easier for the coaches in the sense FRANÇAIS

that there is less jet-lag and fatigue and they aren’t on the road for long periods of time which helps. From a coaching perspective, having a larger team size at a domestically hosted international event provides more up-and-coming athletes the chance to be part of the team and National Team coaches the opportunity to work with them. A win on both sides. And like with these new athletes, competing at home also gives Speed Skating Canada the opportunity to bring other coaches in, not necessarily as apprentices, but they get to come and watch and see what our National Team coaches do. Which is important from a technical leadership point of view. If as a sport you don’t host events in Canada, your up-and-coming coaches have a hard time seeing how things work which is pretty important. We didn’t pursue this mentoring type opportunity specifically in Toronto with workshops and other such opportunities, but at other sport and events we have definitely taken the great opportunity to host a parallel stream where 8-10 coaches are invited to attend specific professional development workshops/opportunities along with the event. It’s a great way to tie in a technical workshop.

Are you seeing a correlation between high performance sport and youth engagement in sport? I think that there is always a natural correlation … kids want to dream! Our challenge collectively is to make sure that we always have strong role models for the next generation. In Speed Skating we make a strong effort not only to promote the profile

of our athletes but, certainly onsite at competitions where we can, we always have national team athletes come into our domestic competitions. My favorite part of the World Cups, is the autograph session because there are so many kids that want to get autographs. It is amazing, you come out into the hall and you watch all these families with these young kids lining up and our athletes love it. They love to have the interactions. So we know that there is always an interest for athletes as role models and the parents look up to our athletes and they want their kids to learn the ethic around focus, confidence and hard work. Our athletes provide that.

What life skills would you say that speed skating helps to teach? I think speed skating is like many sports, it’s the focus toward a goal and understanding the patience to move forward in a step by step basis, setting goals along the way. Never giving up is another key. Understanding not only the challenge but the beauty of competition in a positive way. We are a sport that is very competitive, but it is collectively competitive. Ultimately you do well mainly because your competitors are also there to do well. It is a good approach to pursuing success collectively. I think every athlete, no matter what level they get to, has to learn to balance work life, school life, personal life, and sport life and I can’t think of too many other scenarios that provide that opportunity. u

For more information on Speed Skating: Website: Twitter: Facebook: AT H L E T E PAT H W AY S - S P R I N G 2016


UPDATE 2016!


LONG-TERM PARTICIPANT DEVELOPMENT Courtesy of Sport for Life and the Aboriginal Sport Circle


port for Life (S4L), in partnership with the Aboriginal Sport Circle, has facilitated the development and new release of the Aboriginal Long-Term Participant Development Pathway 1.0 (ALTPD) as well as ALTPD Sport Organization and Competition Guides and ALTPD Sport Organization Activation Workbooks in order to ensure successful activation in communities and sport systems. The purpose of these resources is to increase the percentage of Aboriginal children who are physically literate, to define and ensure better support for Aboriginal athletes into the sport performance pathway and, to have more Aboriginal people being active for life.

We wrote in the Fall 2014 issue of the Athlete Pathways SIRCuit about the first steps in this process which was the hosting of regional summits with the purpose of engaging key stakeholders including First Nations, Inuit and Metis leaders and, sport policy and



program leaders from all provinces and territories. Having successfully worked with the Aboriginal Sport Community throughout the process, the next steps are to ensure successful implementation of the content through National Sport Organizations, Provincial/

Territorial Sport Organizations, as well as several Multi Sport Organizations across the country. With the Aboriginal LongTerm Participant Development Pathway we are seeking an attitude shift away from limiting opportunities for Aboriginal athletes and participants in sport and physical activity. Further, we want to ensure that we support the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report – Calls to Action p 10. This can be accomplished through thoughtful planning and collaboration of the Canadian sport system and using the tools that have been created through best practices of LongTerm Athlete Development implementation and through

the expertise of the Provincial We are currently planning Territorial Aboriginal Sport national and regional training Bodies (PTASB’s). The PTASBs workshops that can assist you lead in supporting and your team in Aboriginal athlete “ The purpose of these creating a strategic and participant resources is to increase action plans in development Aboriginal Longpercentage of Term Participant in each of the the Provinces and Aboriginal children who D e v e l o p m e n t Territories, and Pathway activation are the experts are physically literate, so please follow us and connection to define and ensure online, and make through which better support for sure to register for sport organizations our E-News and should collaborate Aboriginal athletes into follow all of the in order to ensure the sport performance great upcoming alignment and opportunities insight into their pathway and, to have to collaborate programming from more Aboriginal people and make a concept through to foundational being active for life. “ implementation. difference in s u p p o r t i n g As Sport for Aboriginal athletes and Life and the Aboriginal Sport participants across Canada. u Circle are moving towards the implementation and awareness of the Aboriginal Long-Term Participant Development For more information or to Pathway we are seeking all contribute to the Aboriginal Sport potential partners who wish For Life project please contact: to collaborate in making sport and physical activity more accessible and supportive of Aboriginal participants at the National, Provincial/Territorial, and Community levels across Canada. Should you or your organization wish to be a part of this movement please feel free to contact Sport for Life through


10 Key Factors Influencing Aboriginal Long-Term Participant Development 1. Physical Literacy / Learn to Move and Learn to Play 2. Specialization / The Straight Trail 3. Developmental Age / From Seed to Tree 4. Optimal Training Periods / Planting the Garden 5. Mental (Intellectual & Emotional) Development / Training the Good Mind 6. Planning, Training, Competition, & Recovery 7. Competition / Representing your People 8. Excellence Takes Time 9. Working Together / One Mind, One Heart 10. Continuous Improvement / Honoring the Circle

AT H L E T E PAT H W AY S - S P R I N G 2016





here is seemingly no end to the positive effects that participation in sport has on people, both physically and mentally. This is particularly true for young teens that, during times of hormonal changes, may rely on sport in order to cope with rapid changes occurring in their bodies. Adolescent growth spurts can be a frustrating time for a young athlete, where a once agile youth can suddenly seem uncoordinated and a bit awkward. It can be difficult for athletes to adapt to these changes, and many experience a decline in core strength, balance, and often find themselves getting injured more regularly. The good news is this decline in performance is often short-lived and a normal phase of growing up. The most intense growth occurs during puberty, usually between the ages of 10-15 for girls and 12-17 for boys. During growth, bones add material only in specific regions called growth plates, located near the ends of bones and areas where the ligaments and tendons connect to the bone. Growth plates are weaker and injuries to this area can have serious effects on normal bone growth. Growth plate injuries occur during a fall or a blow, or can be caused by overuse. The injuries a teen can experience in sport are just a varied as the sports themselves, with contact and overuse injuries being the most common and well-known. Injuries that primarily occur in young athletes include Osgood-



Schlatter’s, which is a common knee pain injury experienced by active adolescents. It affects the point where the kneecap and the shinbone connect, causing pain and swelling. Studies have shown that Anterior Cruciate Ligament injuries (ACL) happen 4-6 times more often to young female athletes. Recognition of the many changes happening within a teen athlete, and finding ways to work with and around them, is one of the many aspects of a coach’s job. Many experts agree that running and jumping technique definitely play an important role in injury

RECOMMENDED READINGS How young is too young to start training? Biological maturation of youth athletes: assessment and implications Peak Height Velocity Why Do Girls Sustain More Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries Than Boys? The effect of maturation on adaptations to strength training and detraining in 11-15-year-olds

prevention. Below are a few suggestions a coach may wish to include when training young athletes: • Incorporate exercises that focus on improving balance, such single vertical leg jumps or squats, and leg swings. • Try functional bodyweight training to increase strength, for example, lunges, press-ups, burpees, etc. • Increase overall conditioning. • Focus more on agility training, i.e., footwork. • Ensure the athlete has all the equipment they need and that it is properly fitted for them.

PEAK HEIGHT VELOCITY AND THE DEVELOPING ATHLETE: WHAT’S NEW IN THE RESEARCH? One of the over-arching premises of long-term athlete development is that one size does not fit all, recognizing that an athlete’s chronological age does not necessarily match up with their developmental age. The premise of the model is to balance training load and competition based upon physiological assessments of maturation rates of children and adolescents by using measures such as peak height velocity (PHV). PHV estimates the timing of peak growth rates, the adolescent growth spurt, and may allow coaches and trainers to adapt training protocols to match with developmental and maturation stages of young athletes more appropriately. During PHV, the limbs and the spine may be growing at different rates throwing off athlete coordination and performance. Determining PHV can identify peak trainability periods by providing information on athletes’ energy systems and the central nervous system. Knowing the PHV of an athlete allows training, competition and recovery strategies to be design to capitalize on the best time for adaptation to stamina (endurance), strength, speed, skill and flexibility training (Webb). Injury risk is also of great concern at this time. Highlights from the current research related to training of adolescent athletes:

• Stress the importance of crosstraining. Participating in multiple sports and activities creates a wellrounded athlete and is one of the best ways to prevent overuse injuries.

• Growth spurts in lower body dimensions occur, on average, before PHV, in both sexes.

Keep in mind that there is no way to achieve 100% injury prevention. Rapid growth can often make young bodies feel awkward or off-balance. When you mix that up with a fast-paced, intense game of basketball or soccer, for example, accidents can happen. While each person develops at their own pace, coaches can do their part to head off injuries by being aware of the changes in a young athlete’s body and include training techniques that work on skill development, balance, and agility, as well as encouraging youth to explore different sports and physical activities. u

• Tests of strength and power attained peak gains after PHV

• Spurts in body weight, lean tissue mass, bone mineral content, and upper body dimensions occur after PHV in both sexes. • Data for speed and flexibility suggested peak gains before PHV in boys

• Peak velocity in maximal aerobic capacity (VOmax) occurred coincident with PHV in both sexes. • Sprint training should be maximized during pre- to mid-PHV for males, training should be focused on kinematic/technique and coordination • At the detraining period, pre-PHV males showed greatest loss of strength and power, suggesting a need for focused maintenance training at this stage • Differences were found in knee abduction moment between the genders during and following PHV which seems to contribute to the higher risk of knee injury in pubertal girls. Preventative measures include neuromuscular training designed to decrease KAM when instituted just prior to or during PHV Access the full article in the High Performance SIRCuit References Cameron N. GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE. / RAST IN RAZVOJ TER USPEŠNOST V ŠPORTU.Kinesiologia Slovenica. October 2014;20(3):5-13.


Malina R, Baxter-Jones A, Russell K, et al. Role of Intensive Training in the Growth and Maturation of Artistic Gymnasts. Sports Medicine. September 2013;43(9):783802. Meylan C, Cronin J, Oliver J, Hopkins W, Contreras B. The effect of maturation on adaptations to strength training and detraining in 11-15-year-olds. Scandinavian Journal Of Medicine & Science In Sports. June 2014;24(3):e156-e164.

(Source: Sport for Life, LTAD 2.0; and Ten Key Factors; Accessed May 30, 2016) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Myer G, Lloyd R, Brent J, Faigenbaum A. How young is too young to start training?. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal. September 2013;17(5):14-23.

Physical Literacy Specialization Developmental Age Sensitive Periods Mental, Cognitive and Emotional Development Periodization Competition Excellence Takes Time System Alignment and Integration Continuous Improvement - Kaizen


Wild C, Steele J, Munro B. Why Do Girls Sustain More Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries Than Boys?: A Review of the Changes in Estrogen and Musculoskeletal Structure and Function during Puberty. Sports Medicine. September 2012;42(9):733-749. Quatman C, Ford K, Myer G, Paterno M, Hewett T. The effects of gender and pubertal status on generalized joint laxity in young athletes. Journal Of Science & Medicine In Sport. June 2008;11(3):257-263. Knowledge Nugget: Adolescent growth spurts can be a frustrating time for a young athlete, where a once agile youth can suddenly seem uncoordinated and a bit awkward. It can be difficult for athletes to adapt to these changes, and many experience a decline in core strength, balance, and often find themselves getting injured more regularly. Read today’s blog to discover some training techniques that can help prevent injuries in adolescent athletes. Keywords: Injuries, Injury Prevention, Youth, Anterior Cruciate Ligament, Coach, Coaching, Growth Spurt, Puberty

AT H L E T E PAT H W AY S - S P R I N G 2016





oung girls today have quite a few options to choose from when deciding which sport(s) they wish to dedicate their time and effort to, particularly regarding sports that have traditionally been reserved for boys. While the number of girls in sport is growing and the gender gap is getting smaller, there is still a noticeable absence of women in sport leadership positions. There are many factors that have led to this lack of representation and one way to address this issue is to focus on teaching leadership skills to girls starting at a young age. Studies have shown that girls can learn many skills through sport, most notably those that directly affect their ability to lead. Of course, the more skills they acquire at a young age, the better equipped they will be when moving on from youth into adulthood.

SELF-ESTEEM AND DECISION-MAKING Part of becoming a leader means assuming the responsibility of making decisions that will impact you or your team, and then having the determination to stick to that decision when challenged. When a girl develops competence in her skills,



it positively impacts self-esteem and leads to that girl confidently sharing that expertise with others.

PERSEVERE THROUGH FAILURE We all know that we can’t win every game or competition. The best leaders learn how to handle failure (and success) gracefully, learn from setbacks, and make a plan moving forward. An extension of this is learning resilience, keeping motivated after a loss, or even more difficult, through a series of losses; to keep pushing and improving, while eventually coming out better than before.

MENTORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES As girls progress to higher levels of skill within their sport, they can keep younger members of the team accountable for their actions and show them first-hand how their performance affects the rest of the team. Senior girls can be encouraged to be available to provide guidance to novices, on and off the playing field.

“Youth leaders [are] individuals who think for themselves, communicate their thoughts and feelings to others, and help others understand and act on their own beliefs.” - The Power to Lead: A Leadership Model for Adolescent Girls

PRACTICE CONFIDENT COMMUNICATION Participating in individual and team sport introduces girls to a wide variety of people. This includes fellow team members, opposing athletes, coaches, officials, parents, and judges. Positive and respectful interactions with peers and authority figures help to develop important social skills through praise, encouragement, and collaboration as well as through constructive criticism. Girls with leadership potential don’t become leaders overnight. It’s up to the existing people in their lives, coaches, parents, etc., to guide the next generation and help them explore their capabilities in order to build the future leaders we want to see. u

References: Glenn S, Horn T. Psychological and personal predictors of leadership behavior in female soccer athletes. Journal Of Applied Sport Psychology. March 1993;5(1):1734. Litchfield C. Gender and leadership positions in recreational hockey clubs. Sport In Society. January 2015;18(1):61-79. Martel J. Developing Female Leadership in the Canadian Sport System: Recommendations for High-Level Sport Organizations. Canadian Journal For Women In Coaching. July 2007;7(3):1-7. Mazerolle S, Burton L, Cotrufo R. The Experiences of Female Athletic Trainers in the Role of the Head Athletic Trainer. Journal Of Athletic Training (Allen Press). January 2015;50(1):71-81. Morris E, Arthur-Banning S, McDowell J. Career Strategies of Millennial Generation Female Assistant Coaches. Journal Of Intercollegiate Sport. December 2014;7(2):175-197. Taylor J. The impact of the ‘Girls on the Move’ Leadership Programme on young female leaders’ self-esteem. Leisure Studies. January 2014;33(1):62-74.


While the number of girls in sport is growing and the gender gap is getting smaller, there is still a noticeable absence of women in sport leadership positions. Many factors have led to this lack of representation, and one way to address this issue is to focus on teaching leadership skills to girls starting at a young age.


AT H L E T E PAT H W AY S - S P R I N G 2016





IRC is pleased to be working together with Sport Canada to share current research on topics informing policy and promoting quality sport programming. SIRC shares highlights of a recent study examining MANAGEMENT OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURAL SAFETY TRAINING FOR INSTRUCTORS IN SPORT PROGRAMMING.

Managing Diversity to Provide Culturally Safe Sport Programming: A Case Study of the Canadian Red Cross’s Swim Program. Rich, K.E, and Giles, A.R. (2015). Journal of Sport Management, 29(3), 305-317. HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RESEARCH Using the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) Swim Program as a case study, the goal of this research was to create and evaluate a program for instructors that is “culturally safe and consequently more welcoming, inclusive of, and accommodating for ethnically and culturally diverse populations in Canada”. The authors view the CRC Swim program as an ideal case for a number of reasons, including: its well-known role in promoting water safety; its key role in long-term athlete development (LTAD) through the training of fundamental swimming and fitness skills; and, finally, its role in the pathway to many other sports. BACKGROUND The CRC’s Swim Program trains and certifies its instructors through a national-level program that reaches roughly 20,000 Water Safety



Instructors each year. Once trained, however, instructors are hired and managed through municipal or private organizations to deliver the CRC programming. While the CRC is responsible for the training and program content, they are not responsible for the supervision or monitoring of the programming implementation. Therefore, while Instructors are trained in programming for ethnically and racially diverse populations, the challenge is that the nationally based CRC cannot control the effectiveness of aquatics programming for participants from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds at the implementation level. The authors used the diversity management framework proposed by Doherty and Chelladurai (1999), which suggests that the management of diversity is indirectly a function of an organization’s culture as the context. The current observations hold that sport organizations typically adopt a

culture of similarity, which generally means that organizational cultures and management practices contain barriers to embracing cultural and ethnically diverse approaches to sport participation. The CRC adopted a “train the trainer” approach with their Cultural Safety Training Module to evaluate the potential of cultural safety training to equip CRC instructors to offer programming for culturally and ethnically diverse populations. They also recognized the importance of organizational culture and examined this role in the programming’s success. The authors used an intrinsic case study with the intention of studying the Training Module solely within the context of the CRC Swim Program, and without the explicit intention of generalizing results. Thematic analysis of interviews with program participants (Water Safety Instructors) and facilitators provided the basis for evaluation.

were more likely to exhibit hesitation in their ability to accommodate diversity in programming. • Instructors did show hesitation in attitudes to accommodation, as standards and expectations of employers are currently based upon a standardized model or normalized approach that assumes all participants have the same needs. • Hesitation in attitudes towards diversity programming may also stem from the complexity of navigating multiple organizational cultures simultaneously (national values, local programming)

OUTCOMES Two themes were identified out of an analysis of the transcripts of the interviews: 1) Inclusion was valued by the trainers and the instructors being trained, and its importance in programming was recognized. 2) Adapting programming to accommodate cultural and ethnic diversity was perceived as difficult and, in most cases, not supported by organizational culture and employers’ expectations. THEMATIC DISCUSSION 1) Inclusion • Both new and experienced instructors saw the cultural safety training module as useful and in some cases as necessary. • Due to the core principles of the CRC and its efforts to incorporate these into their training programs (humanitarianism, universality, etc.), the organizational culture is conducive to acceptance of diversity and cultural training. This may set them apart from other sport organizations. FRANÇAIS

• While the organizational culture is conducive to valuing diversity, the “level at which the CRC controls the implementation of its programming (i.e., training and certifying instructors rather than hiring instructors and monitoring the implementation of the program) creates complexities in the enactment of this organizational culture and associated inclusion and accommodation practices”. • There is a misalignment of organizational cultures between national programming and local implementation - with national level valuing principles, and local levels valuing business practices. • For many of the instructors the word inclusion has many definitions. Definitions of diversity are often restricted (e.g. persons with a disability versus cultural diversity, etc.,) causing confusion. 2) Accommodation • Instructors were open to accommodating diversity conceptually, but more hesitant when it came to practical implementation in programming. • More



• More experienced instructors commented that accommodation might lead to more “grey areas” for instructors which was less desirable in an organizational culture which values structure and similarity • Organizations with more control over hiring and orientation of staff, and which have an organizational culture that values diversity, may have an easier time removing barriers to adapting programming to accommodate diversity • Suggestions such as hiring and retaining culturally and ethnically diverse individuals as instructors and administrators may be more practical in a setting that allows for contextual control of accommodations, rather than a standardized system. Overall, it is evident that the social views of today, which encompass a multicultural perspective, are more open to valuing inclusion and diversity. From this research we see that implementation of the values and strategies within programming will be less complex if there is alignment between organizational cultures of those sharing the same programming. Training on cultural safety (as in this case study) for both trainers/managers and decision makers (leadership) would allow them to better understand and accommodate the complexities of offering inclusive and accommodating programs. Since this was a pilot study, further research in these areas is recommended. u AT H L E T E PAT H W AY S - S P R I N G 2016


Editor Debra Gassewitz Content Nancy Rebel Circulation Kim Sparling For more information: Sport Information Resource Centre (SIRC) is Canada’s SIRC is Canada’s national sport information resource centre, established over 40 years ago. Mailing address: SIRC 85 Plymouth Street, Suite 100 Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1S 3E2 | Tel : +1 (613) 231-7472 Disclaimer: Author’s opinions expressed in the articles are not necessarily those of SIRCuit, its publisher, the Editor, or the Editorial Board. SIRC makes no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness or suitability for any purpose of the content. Copyright © 2016 SIRC. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored, transmitted, or disseminated, in any form, or by any means, without prior written permission from SIRC, to whom all requests to reproduce copyright material should be directed, in writing.



Design Josyane Morin Translation Alexandre Contreras Marcel Nadeau Special Thanks Dustin Heise Ian Moss Water Polo Canada Sport Canada Alan Zimmermann Craig Andreas Photos courtesy of Aboriginal Sport Circle Speed Skating Canada Sport for Life Water Polo Canada

Athlete Pathway Spring 2016  
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