Long Term Athlete Development

Long Term Athlete Development

There are no natural born athletes. All children, youth and adults need to acquire and maintain the physical skills to participate with confidence in any physical activity.

Just as children need to be taught to read and write, they need to be taught to run, jump and throw. This is called physical literacy.

Without learning the basic movement skills before adolescent growth, everyone will have difficulty participating in any sport or physical activity.

Science, research and decades of experience all point to the same thing – kids will get active, stay active as they grow into adults and even reach the greatest heights of sport achievement if they do the right things at the right time.

That’s why the Canadian Sport For Life Movement published the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model. Developed by Canada’s sport leaders, the model describes what kids should be doing at specific ages and stages in their development.

Long Term Athlete Development plan for gymnastics

Together with Gymnastics Canada and the other provincial associations, Gymnastics BC has customized and adopted the LTAD for gymnastics.

The LTAD is a model for development in physical activity and sport to provide a safe, enjoyable and progressive pathway for children and youth to pursue healthy physical activity along with a pathway to excellence.

The age of the participant in each stage will vary with the gymnastic discipline.  Generally speaking, rhythmic and women’s artistic gymnastics will have the youngest athletes, while men’s artistic, aerobic, and trampoline gymnastics will have slightly older athletes.

In all cases, there is an overlap of ages between each stage, which reflects the need to recognize individually varied rates of growth and maturation.

Eight stages

Click on the titles below for more information

LTAD Stage Female ages Male ages

Stage1 : Active Start

0 to 6 years

0 to 6 years

6 to 8 years

6 to 8-9 years

7 to 9 years

9 to 10 years

9 to 11 years

10 to 12 years

10-11 to 13 years

12 to 15 years

13-14 to 18 years

15 to 18 years

16+ years

18+ years

any age

any age


Long Term Athlete Development Information for Parents

A Sport Parent’s Guide

Long Term Athlete Development Plan – Gymnastics

Canadian Sport for Life LTAD