Long Term Athlete Development

Badminton for Life: Long-Term Athlete Development

What is it?

Long-term athlete development (LTAD) is a system originally designed by the Canadian Sport Centre’s LTAD Expert Group. It has been adopted by Badminton Canada to produce internationally successful athletes. Many sports organizations in Canada and around the world are already using similarly designed LTAD systems.

 “The LTAD Framework is a sports development framework that is built on the basis of human growth and development. It is a system of training, competition and recovery based on the developmental age or maturity level rather than the chronological age of an individual.” - Badminton for Life: Long-Term Athlete Development


Why do we need LTAD?

Currently, the badminton development system of Badminton Canada is varied and inconsistent. The ‘Badminton for Life: Long-Term Athlete Development’ booklet states that “Coaches and parents have a variety of philosophies when it comes to the optimum way to develop athletes. It is quite common for the emphasis to be on the outcome (winning) as opposed to the process (skill development)...” Badminton LTAD offers a structured and healthy means to develop internationally dominant athletes.


How will it do this?

The Badminton Canada LTAD system is comprehensive and detailed. It provides a guideline and long-term path for athletes of all skill levels. Specifically, it emphasizes when and what kind of exercises athletes should be doing at different stages of their physical maturity, as opposed to their age.


There exist eight major stages:

  1. Active Start (M/F 0-6) – Teaches fundamental movements and makes physical activity a fun, daily routine.
  2. FUNdamentals (M 6-9, F 6-8) – Begins the development of badminton-specific skills.
  3. Learn to Train (M 9-12, F 8-11) – Develop fundamental badminton and physical literacy.
  4. Train to Train (M 12-16, F 11-15) – Focuses on major fitness development with an emphasis on aerobic development at the onset of the growth spurt.
  5. Train to Compete (M 16-19, F 15-18) – Enhances performance based on the discipline preference (singles, doubles or mixed) of the individual.
  6. Learn to Win (M 19-23, F 18-21) – Refines previously developed capacities and heightens experience in national and international competitions.
  7. Train to Win (M 23+, F 21+) – Maximizes all previously established capacities and performance.
  8. Active for Life (M/F any age) – Encourages high-performance athletes to encourage everyone – competitive or recreational athletes – to remain active for life.


The 10-Year Rule

It takes a minimum of ten years or 10, 000 hours of training for talented athletes to reach elite levels for any sport. Taking this into consideration, the LTAD plan highlights that Canadian Olympic badminton athletes are peaking too late, and accordingly, are not making it to the podium at international events. To remedy this, there exist a number of advanced stages, which become more specific as the athlete progresses: FUNdamentals stage, specialization, developmental age (dependent on the physical maturity of the athlete), trainability, physical, mental, cognitive and emotional development, periodization, calendar planning for competition, system alignment and integration, and continuous improvement.


More Information

In addition to all the information above, the Life: Long-Term Athlete Development manual also goes over topics such as developing healthy, well-rounded athletes, perfecting skills and staying active with badminton for life. We strongly recommend you take some time and read through the manual.

More information about the LTAD can be found at the Coaching Manitoba Resource Centre.