Swimming Canada Launches New Athlete Development Philosophy

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Swimming Canada Thursday started a phased release of its Appropriate Athlete Development (AAD) and Athlete Development Matrix (ADM), new tools for athlete development.

The work is the product of years of research and collaboration between the High Performance Program and provincial sporting authorities. These two resources aim to help clubs and coaches develop programs at a variety of levels. It will inform how the national program pursues and evaluates development in the future and factor into coaching education and certification.

“Athlete development is rooted in human development. Every athlete is different and the ways they develop will vary,” Sport Development Director Suzanne Paulins said in a press release. “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.”

The ADM is based on four pillars of performance: Mental skills, life skills, technical/tactical/strategic competencies and physical capacity. The AAD document will be updated monthly, with the AAD and ADM available in full by next March.

“The ADM will be critical for all involved in swimming and the development of athletes in the pathway,” Swimming Canada’s High Performance Director John Atkinson said. “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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