Swimming Canada Launches New Athlete Development Philosophy

Swimming Canada is beginning the phased release of its Appropriate Athlete Development (AAD) document and Athlete Development Matrix (ADM), the organization announced Thursday.

The AAD and ADM have been developed over the last number of years with Swimming Canada collaborating with its provincial sections, the Canadian Swimming Coaches Association and Sport for Life experts.

According to Swimming Canada, the documents provide an overview of Appropriate Athlete Development, how High Performance sport fits in, and details key skills and behaviours in each of four pillars of the Athlete Development Matrix: Mental Skills, Life Skills, Technical/Tactical/Strategic Competencies, and Physical Capacity.

“Athlete development is rooted in human development. Every athlete is different and the ways they develop will vary,” said Swimming Canada Sport Development Director Suzanne Paulins. “Well-informed coaches will appreciate this and be able to create experiences for their athletes that are appropriate for their development, and ensure everyone has the opportunity to progress.

“It will be a living document that reflects current evidence. This gives us a road map for developing swimmers. It describes the observations, actions, and words we want them to display across each stage of development.”

You can find the Introduction to Appropriate Athlete Development document here. It will be updated monthly.

The AAD and ADM evolved from what was formerly known as the Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model, along with the Competition Improvement Plan which was launched in 2016.

“The ADM will be critical for all involved in swimming and the development of athletes in the pathway,” said High Performance Director John Atkinson. “Our High Performance programs work to identify swimming talent on the pathway to performance and ensure the coaches across Canada have the skills to develop and nurture athletes.

“This is done to ensure swimmers receive what we now term Appropriate Athlete Development. This fits into the Podium Pathway and ultimately supports swimmers’ long-term development within our sport.”

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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