Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Kinesiology (MKin)

Department

Kinesiology

Faculty/School

Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Kim Dawson

Advisor Role

Supervisor

Abstract

The Long-Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD) has been developed to allow children the best chance of engaging in lifelong sport and physical activity. The LTAD focuses on long-term development, not short-term success, which allows for the best opportunity of sport participation and optimal sport potential throughout life (Balyi, Way, & Higgs, 2013). Research surrounding the LTAD model has stated that there is a lack of empirical evidence of the model being utilized within sport, as some researchers believe that it is more theoretical than practical (Lloyd & Oliver, 2012). However, even with this criticism of the LTAD model, Canadian sport policy makers have trusted the scientific research and training methods to implement the LTAD across Canadian sports. With this in mind, the general purpose of the present study was to add much needed empirical evidence for the LTAD model, providing insight into the experiences people have had with the model, as well as evaluating if the guiding principles of the model are being implemented in Canada’s most participated team sport, soccer. This occurred through multiple perspectives (e.g., athletes, parents, and coaches). More specifically, the population of interest was Ontario soccer academies, who are attempting to develop the next generation of elite/professional level players utilizing the LTAD model. To achieve this objective, semi- structured interviews were conducted with 21 participants (8 athletes, 7 parents, and 6 coaches) from four different soccer academies. Upon completion of the interviews, they were transcribed verbatim and then analyzed by a research team using an inductive analysis approach (Patton, 2002). To ensure that the current study was credible and trustworthy, several measures were taken including, a reflexive journal, field notes, investigator and data triangulation, and participant member checks. Results demonstrated that these four soccer academies utilize the LTAD model. Themes were organized into research areas for the three subgroups with coinciding subthemes: athletes (e.g., LTAD experiences), parents (e.g., reasons for enrolling their child in a soccer academy, knowledge of the LTAD model), and coaches (e.g., academy experiences, long-term athlete development, objectives for athletes). Discussion is focussed around several practical implications aimed at bringing awareness to the experiences with the LTAD model by athletes, parents, and coaches, and proposes potential modifications of how to improve overall awareness, knowledge, and communication of LTAD occurring within soccer academies and Canadian sport.

Convocation Year

2017

Convocation Season

Fall

Included in

Kinesiology Commons

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