Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

The Rise of Elite Canadian Athletes

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Canada has been on the steady increase of producing elite athletes excelling at the professional level or at the international stage of competition. We determined there are three main reasons why Canada has seen an increase in elite athletes.

The first reason has been the adoption and continual development of the LTAD program. The LTAD program helps guide athletes and coaches the things athletes need to be doing at certain ages and stages. The implementation of a LTAD program has helped athletes to develop properly throughout the stages and not be rushed into uncomfortable situations that can lead to athlete burnout or failure. Building off the LTAD model we feel Own the podium and government funding towards elite athletes has been extremely helpful towards athletes getting over the barrier of not only making it to the big leagues or the Olympics but also producing results.

The second reason we determined that has aided in the rise of elite Canadian athletes is a result of better coaching. The coaching association of Canada (CAC) mission is to improve the effectiveness of Canadian coaches across all levels of the sporting system (Coaching Association of Canada, 2015). The national coaching certificate program (NCCP) is an umbrella of the CAC and annually trains 50,000 coaches a year and 900,000 since its inception (Danylchuck, K. & Misener, K. 2009). Better coaching has helped athletes along their athlete pathway, as coaches are influential figures in the social, physical, psychological and emotional development of athletes (Parkins-Forget, J. 2011).

The third reason we feel has been influential to the rise of elite Canadian athletes has been a result of role models, especially Canadian role models. We talked about Steve Nash and how he has been a role model for current NBA Canadian’s Andrew Wiggins, Nik Stauskas and Tristan Thompson. We also talked about Milos Raonic and Eugine Bouchard and the impact they currently are having on tennis Canada. Both Raonic and Bouchard have put Canada back on the map as a powerhouse in Tennis and as a result there has been a spike in registration in Canadians participating in tennis.

To better answer Greg’s question from class on how Canada should adapt to the rise in immigrants and the different cultures and sports they bring with them to Canada, we feel it should not differ from the three reasons that we have seen a rise in elite Canadian athletes. We will use cricket as an example as it is one of the most popular sports in the world although it has not really caught on in Canada yet. The LTAD program has been adapted to fit each sport accordingly however follows the general principles. Cricket Canada must adapt the LTAD plan towards producing young Canadian cricket players. Then cricket Canada must encourage cricket coaches to follow the NCCP and become effective and efficient at teaching cricket to young immigrant and non-immigrant Canadians. As for role models Canadians will have to look towards players such as Sachin Tendulkar considered arguably the best cricket player of all time. Establishing cricket in Canada will be a slow process and patience will be required. With the correct LTAD program in place, and good coaching Canada will slowly begin to develop players. It will usually take a pioneer in a sport (Steve Nash basketball) to help inspire young Canadians it is possible to become an elite Canadian cricket batsman or bowler. Once young children have a Canadian role model in place there is no telling how big cricket in Canada can grow.

– Tyler Carroll & Cam Braes

***Interesting Links

  • Mutter, F. & Pawlowski, T. (2014) Role models in sports- Can success in professional sports increase the demand for amateur sport participation? Sport Management Review, 17(3), 324-336.
  • Danylchuk, K. & Misener, K. (2009). Coaches’ Perceptions of Canada’s National Coaching   Certification Program (NCCP):   Awareness and Value. International Journal of Sport Science and Coaching. 4(2), 233-243.

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