Over the past few years, LETC has grown from an initial group of 15-20 participants to a relatively large club of just over 70 athletes. In growing, we acquire new athletes of all abilities, from beginners looking to learn how to be triathletes to more advanced participants with triathlon competition as their major life focus. For us to work together in our individual and common pursuit of excellence, we need to make sure we can understand each other and the training approach recommended for athletes at each stage of development.
In Canada, we have a wonderful athlete resource known as Canadian Sport for Life. This model illustrates how athletes grow from just learning about sport, specializing in a sport, excelling at a sport or simply using sports to stay healthy and active. There is a generic model applicable to all sports as well as sport specific models, such as triathlon. This pathway is known as long term athlete development (LTAD).
In theory, the active for life stage is where age group athletes should be. The learning to train through training to win are targeted to developing Olympians and World Champions, not age group athletes. However, at LETC we strive to empower the inner athlete in each and every individual who joins our club. So, we have a continuum of athletes training together, each with their own training needs and coaching needs.
The majority of the club is at the active for life stage, with elements of learning to train and training to train enhancing their experiences. We do have a few athletes in the training to compete stage as well as a number acquiring FUNdamentals missed at some prior point. As the LETC coaches learn more and athletes develop to the next stage, we hope to have some competing to win within a few years!
Through understanding the needs of athletes each stage, we believe the club better understand the differences we seen in our members in training and competing. These differences should be celebrated as part of our diversity and heritage, a strength not a weakness and most importantly a unifying element not a divisive one.
Check back later for more details on this!