Canadian Sport for Life is excited to add “Mental Fitness for Long-Term Athlete Development” to its growing list of pan-sport resources. The document, written by a team of experts led by Karen MacNeill, Ph.D., explains that mental fitness is just as necessary for success in sport as physical fitness or technical comprehension. The messages and activities highlighted in the article align with Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) and address how athletes, coaches, and parents can aid the mental development of athletes at each stage of LTAD.
Success in sport requires athletes to push their physical limits of endurance, power, speed, and strength. Athletes must be technically sound and tactically aware in order to achieve best results. As determined in “Mental Fitness for Long-Term Athlete Development,” so too must these athletes train and push themselves in the areas of focus, composure, and determination. The article states that 40 to 90 percent of success in high-performance sports is accounted for by mental factors, and that these mental factors must be trained and tested throughout an athlete’s career.
The resource outlines expected outcomes of mental training, which has many facets: stress management, self-talk, goal-setting, and focusing distraction control among others. “Mental Fitness for Long-Term Athlete Development” frames the various mental fitness activities athletes should practice for each LTAD stage, clearly stating whether the activity targets the pre-performance, performance, or post-performance phase. “Mental Fitness for Long-Term Athlete Development” is available electronically for download at www.canadiansportforlife.ca
Canadian Sport for Life and Long-Term Athlete Development
Canadian Sport for Life is a movement to improve the quality of sport and physical activity in Canada. CS4L links sport, education, recreation, and health and aligns community, provincial, and national programming. Long-Term Athlete Development is a seven-stage training, competition and recovery pathway guiding an individual’s experience in sport and physical activity from infancy through all phases of adulthood. CS4L, with LTAD, represents a paradigm shift in the way Canadians lead and deliver sport and physical activity in Canada.