Report: Branch Surveys Prepared by: Jim McClements

Toward Developmentally Appropriate Speed Skating For Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

This study was carried our and report prepared for Speed Skating Canada thanks to the financial support of the Government of Canada through Sport Canada, a branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ................................................................................................................................................... 3 I. II. INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................................................... 5 METHODOLOGY ..................................................................................................................................................... 7

III. “WHAT?” - 1 – COMMUNICATIONS / EDUCATION ................................................................................................ 8 IV. “WHAT?” - 2 – COMPETITION STRUCTURE..........................................................................................................12 V. “WHAT?” - 3 - ACTIVITIES AND DISTANCES .........................................................................................................15

VI. “HOW?” - 1 - GOVERNANCE ................................................................................................................................23 VII. “HOW?” - 2 - PROGRAM SUPPORT ......................................................................................................................25 VIII. “HOW?” - 3 - BRANCH CAPACITY TO MAKE CHANGES ........................................................................................27 IX. “HOW?” - 4 - TECHNOLOGY and COMPETITION MODELS: ..................................................................................30 X. CAVEATS...............................................................................................................................................................31

2|P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In 2010/11 SSC introduced dynamic program changes as part of the ongoing process of making Canadian speed skating developmentally appropriate. The SSC standing committees collaborated to make significant program changes manifested by reorganizing the Procedures and Regulations including rule changes approved at the 2010 AGM. The SSC standing committees were guided by the competition program review and the resulting document - Racing on Skates. While there are many specifics the overarching changes included significant changes to the age categories, distances raced and other activities as well as a new regional competition to replace national championships during the puberty ages. The changes were further supported through a new competition bulletin. The LTPAD Working group and SSC applied for a Sport Canada grant to assess the changes anchored by a strategy with assessment objectives of reinforcing success, educating and gathering information. SSC has three levels of primary programs: Club level, Branch and national levels. While these levels are intertwined each level has appropriate autonomy. To implement the assessment strategy surveys were conducted at three levels and to appropriate stakeholders at each level. As this is an ongoing strategy to be sustainable and respect peoples time each survey was designed to be easily completed in 10 to 15 minutes. This report is a summary of the first survey completed; that of the Branches with three stakeholders being asked to complete specific surveys: Branch presidents, Branch executive directors and a Branch technical representative. The surveys focused on the “What and How” of change rather than the “Who and Why”. The later the “Who and Why” were unanimously approved at the 2009 SSC AGM. The following paragraphs will paint a broad brush picture of the findings and related recommendations. The report itself where appropriate will link the survey findings with the material in Racing on Skates and then make recommendations. The recommendations were deliberately not included in the executive summary as it would not serve SSC or the reader well to consider them separate from the findings and the theoretical context of developmentally appropriate skating. “What?” 1 - Communications/Education: Communications and Education are critical components of any change strategy. The Branches made an excellent effort with specific strategies to communicating with clubs, parents, coaches and officials with about 80% having identified they had communicated with the specific stakeholders. It was no surprise that the Branches with staff did better than those without. Recommendations focused on information and proactive strategies that take into consideration the Branch capacities. “What?” 2 - Competition Structure: The area of completion structure included new events and age categories. It is important to note that for the early stages of FUNdamentals and Learning to Train stages of development (primary and senior elementary aged children) the Branches have the mandate to define program structure. At older ages when SSC events are available SSC has the primary responsibility. For Club or regional competitions over 83% of the Branches reported new events being offered. At the level of Branch responsibility (FUNdamentals and Learning to Train) two thirds to three quarters of the Branches reported adopting the new age categories. It should be noted that many did this with a strategy for exceptions. The same level of compliance to new age categories was reported for older stages of development which is relevant as while SSC is responsible for national events the Branches offer developmental opportunities at these stages of development. The recommendation for this factor focused on the junior and neo senior age groups in the Training to Compete and the Learning to Win stages of development. “What?” 3 - Activities and Distances: The ninth principle of competition “Define and celebrate success in relation to the goals and objectives of the stage of all participants” is really manifest with the activities and distances offered by speed skating. This includes developmentally appropriate distances, track size, skill based events, new events, and team events. While the results reported by the Branches is not as strong as many would like, the challenge to make sure developmentally appropriate longer distances, super speed, endurance and team events become part of the ongoing programs (events and training). This will require creative thinking and consideration by the SSC committees and every coach of children of these stages. The challenge is not if these events are offered but the carefully considered developmental objectives are met at training and through competition. The new events were only a mechanism to stimulate opportunity. They were recommended as events to encourage coaches to include this in training/practice environments on the principle that training and practice should be rewarded with events. Unfortunately with so many changes they were likely viewed not as ideas but absolutes. There is a need for every coach to consider how to achieve the developmentally appropriate objectives related to each stage of development. One argument is these are effects that should be addressed primarily in practices and training.
3|P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

This argument has validity but the counter argument is coaches will prepare children for these objectives if and only if there are events that highlight the specific objectives. Recommendations in this section for the most part focus on advocacy, idea sharing, support materials and innovative thinking. For the track size a series of more affirmative actions were proposed focused on safety and skill development. “How?” 1 – Governance: The Branches were very proactive in their strategies to provide leadership in the quest for developmentally appropriate programs. Over half the Branches assigned a lead Board member and/or a lead staff member. While none of the Branches had an implementation committee many assigned it to an existing committee, changed the committee structure, and some had committees collaborate. In some cases the board was directly involved. Only 15% did not adopt any of these strategies. In a follow-up question the Branches report a rich list of strategies and one Branch appropriately identified the need for a “made in Branch approach”. The approaches were both rich and innovative and it was recommended that there be a forum or platform for Branches to discuss and share these ideas. “How?” 2 - Program Support: The program support questions focused on funding and reporting mechanisms. While there are Branches that cannot access provincial or territorial funds many can and have. It is important to note many Branches did not respond to this question. It is a concern that funding is neither available nor applied for and it is recommended that SSC should consider ways to assist the Branches access funds. “How?” 3 - Branch Capacity to Make Changes: For SSC and its standing committees to provide leadership and set priorities it is crucial to be aware of the factors that have facilitated change and factors that limit implementation strategies. The most interesting finding here is the dramatic difference between Branches with and without staff. The factors that assisted staff Branches were the factors that limited non-staff Branches. This is not a problem that can be easily solved but the recommendations focus on consideration of these two categories of Branches differently and proactive measures related to the Branch capacity. “How?” 4 - Technology and Competition Models: The issue of technology was only identified once in the surveys but merited comment. Developmentally appropriate skating would benefit from appropriate technological and technical support of viable event formats. The recommendations regarding this factor focus on variable event model that are supported by suitable technology. The report was very assertive with recommendations and had no illusions of their viability. The report and the recommendations are intended to stimulate discussion and prompt action.

4|P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

I.

INTRODUCTION

Racing on Skates is Speed Skating Canada’s (SSC) rationale for developmentally appropriate speed skating. It is anchored by a foundation of nine guiding principles for competitions and events. Stage by stage developmentally appropriate program recommendations (practical steps to move towards an ideal) are supported by developmental constructs (best science available), developmental recommendations (developmentally appropriate speed skating). The SSC committees collaborated to consider this information and to made dramatic program changes in the 2010-2011 season. Baseball Canada in their plan to make baseball developmentally appropriate made the distinction between the “Why? and Who?” and “How?”. ”The LTAD process forces us to examine why we do things the way we do. Why? Where are we going? For Whom?.
These are the real questions we are trying to answer. Baseball leadership, including coaches and administrators often focus on the question 1 of “how” we do things. The inital step in our LTAD process is to examine the “why?” and “who?” questions”.

“Why and Who?” is the rationale for developmentally appropriate sport. The next step to make sport developmentally appropriate requires the addition of the “What?” to make the second stage the “What and How?” SSC as an organization clearly addressed: “Who and Why?” at the 2009 AGM when it unanimously approved the nine Guiding Principles for Competitions and Events:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Reflect Speed Skating Canada’s values and True Sport’s principles. Be a full partner in the Canadian sport delivery/youth development system. Adjust to change in society. Provide a pathway towards personal and sporting excellence for all participants. Be meaningful for all participants (skaters, coaches, officials, parents, volunteers). Be fun, safe, attractive and accessible to people of all ages, of all skill levels and from all different backgrounds. Utilize the basic characteristics identified in the LTP/AD and other literature to define the event/competition objectives for each stage of development. Utilize the basic characteristics identified in the LTP/AD and other literature in the selection of event/competition activities and skills for each stage of development. Define and celebrate success in relation to the goals and objectives of the stage of all participants.

These principles were based on SSC values and the LTPAD model to be an objective foundation for event/competition 2 recommendations . The remainder of Racing on Skates the Developmental Constructs, Developmental Recommendations and Program Recommendations were deliberately approved in principle to allow for the program changes to evolve over time in a manner that accommodated Branch and Club constituencies. These principles clearly address the “Why and Who?” However, it is important to note in the principles the “Who?” includes all participants in speed skating including skaters, coaches, officials, parents and volunteers. This Branch focused report is one of three levels of surveys: 1) SSC Committees, 2) Branches and 3) Clubs efforts to move toward developmentally appropriate speed skating. The report summarizes responses to surveys of the executive directors, presidents and technical representatives of each Branch. A simple description of program jurisdictions is:    SSC is responsible for elite programs, national events and basic program supports, Branches are responsible for programs that lead to national championships and elite skating and facilitate club developmental programs Clubs provide the developmentally appropriate speed skating to the majority of the participants (athletes, coaches, officials, parents and volunteers).

1 2

Baseball Canada Long Term Athlete Development p8 SSC Racing on Skates Appendix 1 “Speed Skating Canada’s Guiding Principles for Competitions and Events” p56-61 5|P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

Of course all three levels are intertwined and interact to provide a continuum of program. The focus at each level of delivery will focus on the “What and How?” questions and will be organized around the following themes: The “What?” includes:    Communication/Education Strategies, Competition Structure, Activities and Distances.

The “How?” includes:    Program Supports Governance Factors Related to Branch Capacity to Make Changes.

6|P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

II.

METHODOLOGY

There were three Branch focused surveys, one to each Branch: President, Executive Director and Technical Representative LTPAD. Where possible paid staff completed the questionnaires, in the other Branches the presidents were asked to name an appropriate respondent. The questionnaire platform was Survey Monkey. The survey objectives were to identify success, educate and gather information. The responses (percentages of identified Branches) are organized in table format and lists of responses and ideas related to specific questions. The later were abridged and edited for obvious grammatical errors and, if possible, to make the responses Branch neutral. The question on Branch structure (Question 6 Presidents survey) was poorly worded and a follow up question was necessary. The tables and responses were divided into two levels of Branches to 3 reflect their paid resources and at the same time size . The divisions were:   Paid staff: AB, BC, MB, NB, ON, QC, and SK Without paid staff: NL, NW, NS, NU, PE, YK.

The maximal possible number of responses was 39 and 38 were completed (the only one missing one was a Technical Representative for a Branch with no staff). To make comparisons a little easier all the results were converted to percentages of Branches responding to the subsection of the question. A caution with denominators of 5, 6, 7, 12 and 13 small percentage differences are often numerical rather than real (In general a difference must be at least 10% to be real.). On the other hand given this is a survey of a population (not a sample), aside from the differences of comparing two samples with different denominators, virtually all differences are real. The data reported is the percentage of Branches in the defined population reporting on the factors questioned. Most themes have responses from more than one of the three surveys. One risk is the potential for contradicting responses. It is not the intent of this to identify or resolve and conflicting responses but to accept what is said at face value and not second guess. This is one level of three levels of surveys. These will not be used to test or second guess other levels. The intent is to quickly gather information that can be used to celebrate success, plan for next year and to educate folks with alternate solutions and ideas. The goal was to make the survey easy to do and keep time demands minimal. 37% of the respondents reported taking less than 5 minutes, 53% taking 5 to 10 minutes, 8% taking 10 to 15 minutes and 2% taking more than 15 minutes. For those reading this on a computer or printing in color for the Tables all of the No Staff - responses are in blue, the Staff responses are in green, and the Total - responses are in red. The recommendations are in purple. One of the challenges SSC will face as it directs the evolution to developmentally appropriate speed skating is to consider all the changes in the within the context of the best scientific information. In this report wherever possible the response are anchored by reference to SSC’s Racing on Skates.

3

A comment on the staff/no staff dichotomy. The survey team was very aware of the differences between Branches. At its simplest size can be an advantage and a disadvantage almost at the same time. It became obvious that resources were a challenge for smaller units. It is also likely that different strategies should be considered where the resources available differ so radically. The reason to split the tables was to help the LTPAD Implementation Group and SSC have a chance to identify the differences and consider potential strategies to support the Branches. Each Branch is well aware of their current level of implementation but this should allow them to compare themselves to Branches with similar resource bases, numbers of clubs and numbers of participants. It also can be a source of alternate ideas and strategies. At the most basic level one can see the differences in the annual reports at the AGM where all Branches with paid staff made comments on the new program while only two of the six without paid staff mentioned the LTPAD.

7|P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

III.

“WHAT?” - 1 – COMMUNICATIONS / EDUCATION

A critical part of program change is communication and education. Program changes take people away from the comfortable old way and offer an unknown new program. The folks involved in a program are there because they liked it as it was. Effective program changes (the “What? And How?”) should be based on a sound rationale (the “Who? And Why?”). Communication regarding both the rationale and the changes themselves are critical. In particular it is important to communicate (and educate) with everyone especially the long standing members and expert volunteers. The survey investigated the major stakeholder groups: clubs, parents, coaches and officials as well as how they communicated. Branches reported a great deal of commitment to communicating developmentally appropriate speed skating. 92% reported communicating with clubs (Table C1), 58% with coaches (Table C2), 85% with parents (Table C3) and 77% with officials (Table C4). The comments appended to Tables C1-4 demonstrate the many approaches and strategies employed by the Branches. These included meetings at all levels, distribution of materials, mentoring, sessions at competitions and camp, special seminars, focused web site information and word of mouth. The Branches with staff generally reported higher percentages with 100% communicating with clubs, 71% with coaches, 86% with parents and 100% with officials (Tables C1-4). The differences between Branches with and without staff, was most dramatic for coaches and officials with those without staff reports 40% with coaches and 50% with officials (Tables C1-4). While this clearly demonstrates a great success across all Branches, the advantage of having staff is illustrated (please see the section on Factors Related to Branch Capacity to Make Changes below). Of particular concern is the major differences were with the folks who run the programs, coaches and officials, where less than half the Branches reported focused communication. It is recommended that both the SSC staff and the SSC standing committees consider communication strategies that proactively address these differences. The Branches without staff have fewer clubs, fewer members and fewer resources (human and financial). It will be critical that the members and in particular these responsible for direct delivery of program (practices and events) in the smaller Branches be well informed about developmentally appropriate sport if they are to deliver the best possible program. 1. SSC should consider more than one strategy for developing and distributing information and more proactive approaches to distributing information especially with smaller Branches.

One of the biggest challenges for Branches was communicating with parents (see comments after Tables C3). The majority of the Branches addressed this directly through parent meetings, posters and web sites. These were held at the start of the year at competitions and even throughout the year. Communication with members, especially with parents and new programs is an ongoing challenge. The model that has been used most often is the traditional top down approach of SSC informing Branches who inform Clubs who inform members (athletes, coaches, parents, officials and volunteers). Communication with the grassroots is always a challenge for large organizations. The traditional model following the organizational hierarchy: national organization to Branch to Club to participant respects the jurisdiction of each level. However in all hierarchies it is only human for break downs to occur. Modern technology of electronic communication makes it feasible for a national organization like SSC to communicate directly with members. The risk here is the potential for mixed messages as Branches and Clubs develop the programs they define as developmentally appropriate. The Branches and Clubs are responsible for “What and How?” and in the writers experience focus on that in short meetings. There is an assumption that the “Who and Why?” is understood. This assumption may not always be true. SSC has a responsibility to communicate the “who and why?” and to facilitate program change. 2. SSC develop a template of information for Branches and Clubs that helps Clubs communicate the “Who and Why”

8|P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

Table C 1 Did your Branch address developmentally appropriate speed skating with Clubs?
(President Q3)

No Staff 83% 17%

Staff 100%

Total 92% 8%

Yes No

Table C 2 Has your Branch formally addressed developmentally appropriate speed skating with Coaches?
(Technical Advisor Q8 & Q9)

No Staff 40% 60%

Staff 71% 14% 14%

Total 58% 33% 8%

Yes No Don’t Know

Table C 3 Did your Branch address developmentally appropriate speed skating with Parents?
(President Q4)

No Staff 83% 17%

Staff 86% 14%

Total 85% 15%

Yes No

Table C 4 Did your Branch address developmentally appropriate speed skating with Branch Officials?
(President Q2)

No Staff 50% 33% 17%

Staff 100%

Total 77% 15% 8%

Yes No Don’t Know

The comments linked to Tables C1-4 provide a rich data base of ways used to communicate. They included information sessions at events, direct meeting with club presidents and executives, information strategies for coaches, websites including best practices, sessions at retreats, camps, competitions and seminars, guest speakers. One of the more creative approaches was discussions and mentoring in coach boxes at competitions. Comments Linked to Tables C 1-4 Comments linked to Table C 1 Did your Branch address developmentally appropriate speed skating with Clubs?
     LTAD races were started and explained to club reps Helps orientation in development Met with all clubs and discussed with presidents Club head coaches were well informed and able to lead programs as well as pass information onto secondary coaches Provided clubs with a place on the Branch website to post practice strategies for preparing for new distances and race formats

9|P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

Comments linked to Table C 2 Did your Branch address developmentally appropriate speed skating with Parents?
               All received copy of LTPAD Discussions held at coach meetings. Clinics with mentor coaches Branch Summer Camps and all other Branch weekend Camps ( mentoring) Coaches retreat Coaching Seminar at Branch Long Track Camp Coaching Seminars at camps where LTPAD was focus Branch Coaching Seminar Competition Coaching box discussions related to racing development related to skaters ability & technical development Guest coaches and speakers Seminar covering LTPAD in Northern Region where club coaches from region participated Mentorship in the Coaches Box Branch athlete development and Branch coaching development committee’s feedback to clubs via club reps Branch web site information to go to SSC website ( mainly find your Edge book) Branch Coach travels region relating club development to appropriate training & technical advances at various skill levels.

Comments linked to Table C 3 Did your Branch address developmentally appropriate speed skating with Parents?
        Some parents were concerned that they don’t know what level their children should be skating at. We discussed that first it should be fun and then they will develop at their own pace. Most agree that they don’t want to push the kids too fast. We had a parent meeting at the beginning of the season to explain the new LTPAD and answered any questions that came up during the year shared LTAD info LTAD races were started and poster made to address the new races for each age category No direct communication. Done through website and at Annual Meeting of Club Reps. Had open information meetings at all clubs for parents and skaters Only through word of mouth Worked with coaches as above and held information session for parents at meets during the season

Comments linked to Table C 4 Did your Branch address developmentally appropriate speed skating with Branch Officials?
     Started to implement LTAD appropriate races Clarifies orientation for the future Reviewed the LTPAD with the Board and major officials, also met with all officials separately Coaching workshop at the start of the season. It was also frequently brought up at board meetings The Board worked with Technical Committee to make changes to the format of the Provincial Championships and with the host Club of the Regional Championships

Decentralizing the preparation and distribution of information is also not cost effective but at the same time a national strategy will not consider the context and reality of local issues. Branches that have staff are more likely to be aware of materials to circulate and through electronic and personal contact are more likely to provide the information. Those without staff have a greater challenge. 3. SSC discuss direct communication strategies with Branches.

One recent resource the video; Speed Skating Canada`s Plan to reach our destination: Speed Skating Canada’s Plan to reach our destination which is short, full of information and features a prominent former skater. This is an excellent example of a centrally developed resource for grass roots consumption. While it is posted on the SSC web site and many Branches will promoting it, a direct email of the site would insure the membership is aware of the resource. It could also be identified for a direct emailing for any and all new members. 4. SSC should continue to develop easy to use and access resources to support the communication of developmentally appropriate speed skating.

10 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

The survey did not address the content or message of the communications but a comment may be useful. The Baseball Canada distinction between the “Who and Why?” from the “What and How?” is critical in all these communications. The “Who and Why?” can be explained simply by evolving to developmentally appropriate speed skating (as defined by Racing on 4 Skates and Sport for Life) . The message that developmentally appropriate speed skating is the ultimate goal as contrasted to developmentally inappropriate speed skating requires no defence. At all levels if the primary message is the “What and How?” there is potential for negative reactions to the changes. It is clear that all communications must be anchored to developmentally appropriate speed skating not simply what is being changed. The rationale for the changes, the “Who and Why?” must be front and center of the message of “What and How?” (Please see recommendation 2 above.). One communication issue with the Canadian Sport for Life initiative and funding there is a plethora of information available. The amount is overwhelming and likely cause information over load if one reads it all and possibly the feeling of being over whelmed. Volunteers do not have time to read it all nor do they have to skills to interpret the material. The current SSC web site makes twelve resources available and users can easily find other information. In the club coach survey twenty five 5 sources are identified. 5. SSC develop a strategy to make it easy for members to get the most relevant and readable material.

4

Canadian Sport for Life Long Term Athlete Development Resource Paper and Racing on Skates: Towards Developmentally Appropriate Programming for Speed Skaters of All Ages There are links for both at SSC Web site: <http://www.speedskating.ca/index.cfm> 5 While writing this document the writer goggled Canadian Long Term Athlete Development and found 54 pages of documents (at about 10 per page). More than half or over 250 sources were relevant. 11 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

IV.

“WHAT?” - 2 – COMPETITION STRUCTURE

Speed skating in Canada has a long and rich history of providing age class competition. In general the format has been age 6 class racing but more recently speed skating has been a leader in ability type competitions. Racing on Skates reviewed the growth and development literature and consulted experts to consider a more developmentally appropriate competition structure. It was recommended that for earlier stages boys and girls should be grouped together into ability type races and during puberty where there are dramatic early and late maturation differences one year age windows were developmentally appropriate. Young teenage boys and girls should start racing in gender specific age categories and the earlier maturation of females should be recognized in the competition structure. i. NEW EVENTS. For the younger stages of development Racing on Skates acknowledges Branch and Club jurisdiction with respect to providing events that best serve the needs of their members. Questions related asked related to the competition structure focused on the new age classes defined in the 2010-2011 SSC Procedures and Regulations and new events outside of your Branch’s jurisdiction conducted this season? (e.g. interclub or regional level competitions). This was a year of innovation and creativity and with 83% of the Branches reporting new events being held by Clubs or regions within the Branch (Table CS1). This result is taken as strong evidence of the grass roots working towards developmentally appropriate speed skating. Where things did not work out Branches and Clubs will focus on what was done and how it was done and carry on with the evolution toward more developmentally appropriate speed skating.

Table CS 1 Were new events outside of your Branch’s jurisdiction conducted this season? i.e. Club or regional level competitions
(Technical Advisor Q7)

No Staff
100%

Staff
71% 29%

Total
83% 17%

Yes No

ii. AGE CATEGORIES. One of the major developmentally appropriate steps forward was redefining age categories. The 7 recommended age categories were based on developmental data . The Developmental Recommendations were idealistic 8 and sport specific but are based on Developmental Constructs which are the best available scientific evidence about growth 9 and development on a wide range of factors. At younger ages (FUNdamentals – primary elementary school ages) the age categories were differed from traditional age classes with three year rather than two year windows. These are primarily local events and depending on the branch likely include children of very mixed experiences and varied capabilities. The wider window must be considered in the context of the recommended developmentally appropriate gender mixed ability event format. This recognizes gender maturity 10 differences with girls ages of 6 to 8 years and boys ages of 6 to 9 . The majority of the Branches reported adopting these with 67% following the guidelines, 17% with some exceptions and 17% not following these age categories (Table CS2).

6 7

Racing on Skates p94-102 Racing on Skates Appendix 2 Developmental constructs p74-76 and Appendix 3 Developmental Recommendations p94 8 Developmental Constructs are like pillars providing the foundational rationale for a holistic program at each stage in specific developmental domains. The Developmental Constructs were reviewed by individuals with both an academic and a sport background for their validity. Assuming they are valid they should stand until growth and development research provides better evidence. 9 Developmental Recommendations integrated the domain specific Developmental Construct continuums into the multi-domain sport program issues. The challenge of linking program to the LTPAD evidence requires consideration of specific program factors as developmental continuums. Program factors considered were activities and distances, age categories, nature of feature events and competitions (including national championships and international events), long track and short track issues, equipment and facilities and social issues. The Developmental Recommendations became the second set of pillars for program review. 10 Racing on Skates p76&95 12 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

The rationale and change at the Learning to Train (senior elementary school) stage of development is similar to the 11 FUNdamentals stage with the recognition of gender maturation differences . Here 75% of the Branches complied while another 17% did with exceptions and only 8% did not adopt these categories (Table CS2). Racing on Skates recommended dramatic changes for the Training to Train (junior high – middle school) stage of development where the gender effect is very dramatic and is compounded by the growth spurt leading to early and late maturation. These growth and development effects led to gender specific developmentally appropriate one year age categories and a new regional national competition 12 instead of a national championship . The regional SSC championships are developmentally appropriate and provided a bridge or continuum between local events and national events. For these stages it is instructive to consider the stage titles which define developmentally appropriate stage objectives or goals. The target group title for Regional Championships is Training to Train while the next group title is Learning to Compete. SSC has grappled for decades with the appropriate ages for participation in national championship and this change is unique because it is developmentally appropriate and at the same time provides opportunity for twice as many skaters in this stage to participate at a SSC event. For the most part Branches adopted these for their competitions with 75% fully adopting the new categories and 17% with some exceptions. One Branch or 8% did not adopt these age categories (Table CS2). Table CS 2 Did your Branch adopt the new age classes defined in the 2010-2011 P&Rs for the following stages of development?
(Executive Director Q2 & Q3) FUNdamentals No Staff Staff Total Learning to Train No Staff Staff Total Training to Train No Staff Staff Total Learning to Compete No Staff Staff Total Training to Compete No Staff Staff Total 80% 57% 67% 80% 71% 75% 80% 71% 75% 80% 57% 67% 60% 57% 58% 43% 25% 17% 20% 14% 17% 20% 14% 17% 20% 14% 17% 20% 29% 25% 14% 8% 40% 14% 8% 14% 8% 29% 17% Yes Yes, exceptions No

For the Training to Compete (high school) ages the ISU junior ages were the developmentally appropriate age categories. The 13 two junior age categories Junior B and Junior A are in the Learning to Compete stage of development (males 16 to 18 and 14 females 15 to 17 – high school ages) . Compliance by Branches was similar to the earlier stages with 67% adopting these age categories and 25% with some exceptions (Table CS2). It is important to note two issues here the most important is the numbers of active racing skaters declines and the target programs are focused on national events and Canada Games. While the Branches provide excellent training programs and events for these stages, competition events are driven by SSC.

11 12

Racing on Skates p95 Racing on Skates p96-97 13 These follow the ISU notation of B’s being younger than A’s. 14 Racing on Skates p99 13 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model
15

October 2011

Two new senior age categories (Neo Senior B and A ) were added for the first few years after junior. These are new age categories which were developed to recognize the Training to Compete (junior college undergraduate university ages) stages 16 as contrasted with the Learning and Training to Win stages (senior undergraduate graduate university ages) . The SSC developmental model has fine tuned the LTAD model to accommodate for SSC outstanding international success by splitting the Sport for Life Training to Win stage into two stages Learning to Win and Training to Win. With such a strong international presence and the related older retirements these new age categories allow for the recognition of younger athletes progress relative to a developmentally appropriate peer group rather than to skaters of later stages of development. These last four ages Junior A and B and Neo-Senior A and B are new to speed skating and are really managed by the two High Performance Committees and Competitions Committee. This survey focuses on Branch jurisdiction. 6. SSC promote these age categories such as elevating them to formal Canadian Championships and Canada Cup rankings.

15 16

These follow the ISU notation of B’s being younger than A’s. Racing on Skates p100 14 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

V.

“WHAT?” - 3 - ACTIVITIES AND DISTANCES

17

Over the years speed skating have changed “the What?” of speed skating. At an international level new events include team activities, new formats and distances. Over decades SSC has also changed with longer age class distances, new competition formats (such as ability events) and some team activities. Racing on Skates considered the best science available and 18 provided a rationale for dramatically different distances, proportional tracks, team events and skill events. i. DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE DISTANCES. The simplest explanation of the Racing on Skates distance recommendations is younger children developmental needs were better served by different distances. The developmentally appropriate distances were much shorter and longer than the recent traditional distances. These developmentally 19 appropriate distances take advantage of “windows of trainability” while many of the recent traditional distances emphasized energy systems that would have at best minimal long term benefits and perhaps even health risks. The Racing on Skates competition review team studied and discussed this carefully and then solicited expert advice on appropriate distances for each developmental stage. The experts recommended distances which were then vetted by the review 20 committee and applied to program ideas and competitions . These recommendations were the basis for the changes in the 21 2010-11 SSC Procedures and Regulations . An aside - the recommended distances were very similar to the pre 1980 distances. Two of the surveys addressed developmentally appropriate distances. In a general question of the technical advisors 82% of the Branches reported the children raced appropriate distances with some exceptions allowed and 9% of the Branches reported that skating developmentally appropriate distances were not a primary factor (Table AD 1). Table AD 1 In your Branch sanctioned ability or all points competitions, were athletes restricted to the age developmentally appropriate distances (as defined by the 2010 P&R’s)
(Technical Advisor Q6)

No Staff

Staff

Total

Skaters only raced age defined developmentally appropriate distances Most skaters raced age defined developmentally appropriate distances but exceptions were allowed Age defined developmentally appropriate distances not a primary consideration in grouping skaters Don’t know
      

25% 75%

14% 57% 14% 14%

18% 64% 9% 9%

Exceptions: No races were held in our Branch this season. That is one of our goals for the near future. Too big of speed differences in group (SAFETY) Branch Coach travels Branch relating club development to appropriate training & technical advances at various skill levels. Some more experienced skaters were able to be bumped up a stage based on skill and ability A few Training to Train skaters were allowed to skate ISU Jun based on applications. Training to Train and under raced ability with majority of divisions age determining distances Longest distance for Learning to Train and FUNdamentals skaters determined by keeping the division under 1 minute for sprinting

The exceptions focused on ability, speed, safety and experience (comments Table AD1). Base on the technical representatives survey at the FUNdamentals and the Learning to Train stages of development over 80% of the Branches reported children raced age appropriate distances in two thirds or more of the races, 18% raced some races (two third or less) 22 and none of the Branches reported children not racing any age appropriate distances (Tables AD2&3). In the Training to Train stage of development the Branches reported 90% of these young teenagers raced age appropriate distances in two23 thirds or more of the race and only 9% did not race age appropriate distances (Table AD 4) . 7.
17

SSC continue to promote and advocate for developmentally appropriate distances for all stages of development.

Technical representatives or equivalents were asked a series of questions on tracks, distance and events. There was one Branch which did not have host any competitions in 2010-11 and one Branch did not respond to the technical representative survey. This lead to a catch 22 situation for reporting as the Branch that did not offer ant competitions had to respond no to these questions. The report is reported in percentages of Branches and the dilemma is how to fairly report his data. It was decided to change the denominator to the 11 Branches organized competitions and that responded to the survey. 18 Racing on Skates Appendix 3 19 Windows of Trainability refers to a point in the development of a specific behaviour when experience or training has an optimal effect on development. The same experience, introduced at an earlier or later time, has no effect on or retards later skill acquisition. 20 Racing on Skates Appendix 3 Developmental Recommendations p84-93 21 SSC Procedures and Regulations Section B2-200 p60 and 61 for SSC recommended distances for each stage of development. 22 Racing on Skates p34-37&89-90 23 Racing on Skates p38-41&91 15 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

Table AD 2 For skaters within the FUNdamentals Stage of Development (Boys 6-9 years old and Girls 6-8 years old) in events taking place in your Branch’s jurisdiction did skaters:
All of the races 2/3 of the races or more Between 1/3 and 2/3 of the races 1/3 of the races or less None of the races

(Technical Advisor Q2)

Race on tracks 100m or smaller
No Staff Staff Total

100% 29% 55% 50% 43% 45%

43% 27% 50% 29% 36%

14% 9%

14% 9%

Race stage appropriate distances
No Staff Staff Total

14% 9%

14% 9%

Table AD 3 For skaters within the Learning to Train Stage of Development (Boys 9 to 12 years old and Girls 8 to 11 years old) in events taking place in your Branch’s jurisdiction did skaters:
All of the races 2/3 of the races or more Between 1/3 and 2/3 of the races 1/3 of the races or less None of the races

(Technical Advisor Q3)

Race on tracks 100m or smaller
No Staff Staff Total

100% 29% 55% 25% 43% 36%

29% 18% 75% 29% 45%

14% 9%

14% 9%

14% 9%

Race stage appropriate distances
No Staff Staff Total

14% 9%

14% 9%

16 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

Table AD 4 For skaters within the Training to Train Stage of Development (Boys 12 to 16 years old and Girls 11 to 15 years old) in events taking place in your Branch’s jurisdiction did skaters:
(Technical Advisor Q4) All of the races 2/3 of the races or more Between 1/3 & 2/3 of races 1/3 of the races or less None of the races

race on 111.12m track
No Staff Staff Total

25% 14% 18%

25% 43% 36% 25% 29% 27% 100% 43% 45%

25% 9% 25% 14% 18%

25% 29% 27% 25% 29% 27%

14% 9% 25% 14% 18%

race on 100m
No Staff Staff Total

14% 9% 100% 43% 45%

Race Stage appropriate distances
No Staff Staff Total

14% 9%

ii. TRACK SIZE. One innovative developmentally appropriate Racing on Skates recommendation was to have skaters race on age appropriate proportional tracks. Skill Specificity. A skill specificity rationale is for the skill development years (FUNdamentals -primary school ages), Learning to Train - senior elementary ages) and Training to Train - junior high or middle school ages) is a growth scaled track will 24 facilitate skill learning . A proportional track will mean the same number of steps in the straight-away and corners, easier to manage cornering and the same angle of lean on corners as adults on an international track. The second skill specificity rationale is based on the distance from the apex to the boards and the lane width on the straight-away in North American hockey rinks are similar to the 111 tracks on International Ice hockey surfaces. This has learning implications of perceptual issues for learning and outside passing opportunities. Safety. The distances from the cups to the padding adds the rationale that the smaller tracks on North American rinks are at least as safe as the 111m track on international size rinks. Implied is that for a 111 meter track on the smaller North American sized rinks the distances to the boards are actually less than the 111 meter track in an international rink. Any consideration 25 of risk management must take into account the minimum ISU standards summarized in ISU Rule 280 where the defined minimum straight away width is 7 meters and minimum distance from the apex block to the boards is 4 meters. In the ISU diagram used to define this track there is 7.57 meters from the middle apex block to the barrier part of this difference is explained by the requirement that for the 500 meter race the two outer tracks are not used to provide more room to the boards at those speeds. There is a moral imperative for SSC to set minimum safety stands for practice/training and racing. It would be prudent that these tracks are at least as safe as the ISU track as defined in ISU Rule 280 and diagram in the ISU Rule Book. Racing on Skates addressed this: The 100m track with a 7m radius would make both straightaway one meter wider and the apex of both turns about 2.4 meters further away from the rink boards than a 111.12m track. The 100m track would allow even the smallest rinks (85X185) to have as much distance from the track to the boards as the 111m track has on an international ice hockey surface. An argument that competitions are conducted in large rice surfaces therefore this not 26 relevant can be considered, however safety in training venues is equally important. While risk should be assessed and the strategy should be to minimize risk, risk cannot be avoided. Where a simple and inexpensive strategy to minimizes risk (achieve the minimal ISU standards by adopting a smaller track) it seems prudent and responsible to use that strategy. It should be noted that in the last year the ISU has been engaged in research to see if their track can be made safer (the ISU studied the use of the double radius track to consider if it is safer than the oval track). It is
24 25

Racing on Skates p77-78&131-133 International Skating Union Special Rules and Regulations Speed Skating And Short Track Speed Skating p76 and 115 26 Racing on Skates p78 17 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

also a time where risk management and potential injuries are very much in the public eye. There are always ethical, moral and liability issues to address, but the a prudent safer option is the only acceptable conclusion. For the FUNdamentals and Learning to Train stages of development over 77% of the Branches raced two-thirds or more of their races on 100m tracks or smaller while about 9% did not race any races on the smaller tracks (Tables AD2 and 3). While there was success at the Training to Train stages the numbers were lower, with 36% racing two thirds or more of their races on the 100m track or smaller and 18% racing none of their races on the age appropriate track (Table AD 4). It should be noted for the Trainings to Train stage of development 45% of the Branches raced some races on the age appropriate track. Unless all of the 111 meter track races were on international ice hockey surfaces (30 meters by 60m meters) there is reason to consider if these races were unsafe. The argument that the skaters have to race and train on larger tracks for skill specificity reasons is questionable given the specificity evidence presented in above and in Racing on Skates and morally should never trump the safety argument. Developmentally appropriate tracks were recommended based on a rationale of skill learning and safety. While there was considerable rationale for adopting of these proportional tracks there is still racing and training on what are likely developmentally inappropriate and less safe tracks. 8. a) SSC should have regulations regarding safe training/practice and racing tracks that meet ISU minimal standards b) SSC should investigate liability issues related to the training and racing on 111 tracks in smaller arenas. c) SSC should be proactive in promoting developmentally appropriate tracks for skill learning and safety reasons.

iii. SKILL BASED EVENTS. The overall objectives of FUNdamentals (primary school ages), Learning to Train (senior 27 elementary school ages and Training to Train (junior high middle school) stages of development include skill components . 28 29 These objectives were confirmed in Racing on Skates but are actually from Find Your Edge and Sport for Life .
Objectives for Fundamentals are:  basic movement skills  learn all fundamental movements skills and build overall motor skills. Objectives for Learning to Train are:  fundamental sport skills including speed skating skills and  learn overall sport skills. Objectives for Training to Train are:  building the engine and sport specific skills  build an aerobic base, develop speed and strength towards the end of the stage and further develop and consolidate sport specific skills

For the FUNdamentals stage of development 83% of the Branches responded that in all-points competitions they included 31 developmentally appropriate skill based events (Table AD 5) for the developmental recommendations for this stage. For 32 33 both of the older stages of development Learning to Train and Training to Train , 92% of the Branches reported they 34 included skill based events (Branches with staff reported 100%)(Table AD 5).

30

27 28

Racing on Skates Table 1 Stage of Development Objectives p15 Speed Skating Canada’s Find Your Edge Speed Skating Canada’s Long-Term Athlete Development Plan. 29 Canadian Sport for Life Long Term Athlete Development Resource Paper. 30 For information on FUNdamentals developmentally appropriate speed skating see Racing on Skates p34-35. 31 Racing on Skates p89 32 For information on Learning to Train developmentally appropriate speed skating see Racing on Skates p36-37. 33 For information on Training to Train developmentally appropriate speed skating see Racing on Skates p38-39. 34 Racing on Skates p89-90 for the developmental recommendations for these stages. 18 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

Table AD 5 Did your Branch organise any competitions which included developmentally appropriate skill based events for skaters in the following stages of development?
(Executive Director Q4 & Q5)

No Staff 67% 67% 67%

Staff 86% 100% 100%

Total 77% 85% 85%

FUNdamentals Learning to Train Training to Train
     

Branch hosts Branch Championships, which included the changes in track size (100m for Fundamentals and Learning to Train), change in distances (10-minute relay, 400m etc). Agilities races were included in Club events (practices and time trials; ie. barrel race start) Branch lacks any trained individuals at this point for any officiating duties In Fundamentals, our Regional Associations are in charge of competitions. Three or four have incorporated in the past 3-4 years some of the principals but more has yet to come. In Learning to Train and Training to Train, I answered yes but in 2010-2011, it was only done in Long Track. The Mass Start competitions were replaced last season by what we called a hybrid competition that resembled the Canadians (Train to Train) held in Winnipeg in Feb 2011. We have used with success the one year span age class and many of the proposed distances. Camps, but not sure of any others. Was happy to let the Technical Director take care of this task this season so I could catch up with other work. Clubs delivered mini-meets - regionally - to address the FUNdamentals and L2T competitions. These often took on 2/3 hr sessions and were linked to scheduled practices to reduce costs and allow for ease of travel. The Branch was, unofficially, broken down into 5 regions and FUNdamentals + L2T events within each region. Each region was "free" to tweak the recommended distances based on their demographics. Less than optimum participation however we expect greater buy-in this season FUNdamentals competitions were run at the club level, but I wouldn't suggest they were Branch driven .

The comments appended to Table AD 5 suggest that Branches approached this differently with some doing it during regular competitions, others at min-meets and others at camps. During the transition stages this variety is to be commended and is useful. The critical aspect is to insure the stage objectives are the focus of the program therefore they should define events. This is to insure that the child takes advantage of the skill development “window of trainability”. “Window of trainability” refers to the point in the development of a specific capacity when training has optimal effect. The FUNdamentals stage is 35 linked to the general motor skills of physical literacy while the Learning to Train Stage of Development objective is focused on sport specific skills. In the comments appended to Table BC2 the Branches suggested that they could have used some specific suggestions or best practices. This would likely be most applicable to newer skill based activities and newer events. 9. SSC should develop a best practice sharing system and use standing committee and staff to solicit; document and share developmentally appropriate skill base best practices.

iv. NEW SSC EVENTS. In 2010-2011 new events were introduced by SSC as part of the Canada East/West Championships. These events introduced the new gender specific one year age categories and several innovative developmentally appropriate events. This question was asked to gather data about the effect that these new events were having on Branch programs. Table AD 6 provides a summary of the results.

35

For more information on physical literacy see Developing Physical Literacy: A guide for Parents of Children Ages 0 to 12, Canadian Sport Centers, 2008 19 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

Table AD 6 In 2010-2011 new events were introduced by SSC as part of the Canada East/West Championships. For each event please indicate how frequently it was run during provincial competitions during the 2010-2011 season.
(Technical Advisor Q5) All Competitions 2/3 of Competitions Between 1/3 & 2/3 of Competitions 1/3 of the Competitions At a Single Competition None of the Competitions

100m Pursuit
No Staff Staff Total

25% 9% 50% 29% 36% 25% 9% 25% 9% 25% 9%

50% 14% 27% 25% 14% 18% 25% 9% 25% 29% 27%

29% 18%

14% 9%

25% 29% 27%

14% 8% 25% 14% 18% 25% 14% 18%

400m
No Staff Staff Total

14% 9%

14% 9% 25% 29% 27%

14% 9%

3000m points race
No Staff Staff Total

29% 18% 25% 29% 27% 50% 14% 27%

14% 9% 25% 29% 18% 25% 29% 27%

Relays
No Staff Staff Total

14% 9%

10 minute, 2 person relay
No Staff Staff Total

29% 18%

29% 18%

Speed Events. “For boys, the first speed training window occurs between the ages of 7 and 9 years and the second window is between
the ages of 13 to 16. For girls, the first speed training window occurs between the ages of 6 and 8 years and the second window is between the ages of 11 and 13 years. During the first window of trainability the focus should be on speed activities of 5 seconds or less, primarily focused on reaction time and improving synchronisation in rapid movements. The second window of trainability seeks to develop a more 36 sport specific speed quality with intervals lasting up to 20 seconds .”

The 100m pursuit was one idea to take advantage of this window of trainability to develop speed. Every Branch reported having at least one pursuit event during provincial competitions with 36% reporting it was included in at least two thirds of their competitions. This event is only one option to develop speed and other such as shuttle relays can have the same effect but in a team setting which would also have social benefits. Implementation was successful for a first year, however there is a need to introduce more events and more often. SSC needs to promote these events for the development of the skaters and the development of the sport of speed skating. Endurance. Young children have the potential to have long term benefits of endurance training (minimum duration 10 minutes). To promote this benefit Racing on Skates recommended events of 10 minutes and longer for both the Learning to 37 Train and Training to Train stages of development . There is a real challenge to find competition events that are fun and meaningful for these stages. SSC developed two such events the 3000 Points Race and the 10 Minute 2 Person relay. 3000 Points Race. The 3000 points race was only offered to children in two thirds of the competitions or more by 18% of the Branches with 18% never offering it as an event (Table AD4). Anecdotal reports were that it was too long for the kids and they got too tired which suggests that this training effect is not being challenged in practices.

36

37

Racing on Skates Definitions p 13 Racing on Skates “Table 5 Distances for all Stages” p30 20 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

10 Minute 2 person Relay. Another new event to promote aerobic endurance was the 10 minute 2 person relay where only 9% of the Branches offered this to the children. Again 18% of the Branches never tried this event (Table AD4 ). The low level of including these events demonstrates the challenge of finding an interesting format for the developmentally appropriate training effect. Of all the events considered in Racing on Skates these involved the most radical change to current practice. Perhaps there are other events that would work but it is the writer`s opinion that this energy system has to be developed over time. If the 10 minutes plus time frame become a target to be achieved in affixed number of years and even within a season then starting with a shorter duration time with guidelines for early season and late season distances and times and these targets gradually increase with each year. 10. SSC develop a plan to promote the 10 minute plus training effect. This plan should consider guidelines for a gradual distance/time events with a goal of having 10 minute plus events a normal practice in five years. v. TEAM EVENTS. The rationale for team events is linked to social development developmental constructs . While speed skating is considered an individual sport, there are many examples of team activities including short track relays, team pursuit and the ISU World Team Short Track events. The most dramatic evidence for considering the inclusion of team events 39 is the findings of a study of UK Athletics (track and field) where the sport was experiencing large drop rates across puberty. They found young people were more comfortable with a team rather than individual competition. This is can be explained by 40 social theory describing affiliation and play stages . SSC has had great success internationally with team events because the elite athletes prepare for them as a team or social unit. It is the writer`s experience that the same is not true at the grass roots level. Too often relay teams are thrown together at a competition and team pursuit rarely if ever practiced (the exception is for Canada Games). This approach misses the development of a social system where a team prepares for the event as a unit. It is impossible to know how many have left skating to participate in a team sport but this stage coincides with a most dramatic drop in participation (50%) is from 11 to 41 14 years old. While this decline cannot be solely attributed to the lack of team activities, the ages it does coincide with the UK Athletics results and the social affiliation theory. Relays. The Branches reported the Training to Train (junior high middle school) children raced relays in 36% of two thirds of their competitions (Table AD6). However every Branch reported having relay events in at least one of their events. This low number was a surprise to the writer given the long history of relays as part of SSC program. Racing on Skates made a strong 42 case for more team activities during this stage of development and the more general recommendations on this were :
a) b) c) d) At all stages of development speed skating offer more team activities including team specific events and/or competitions SSC facilitate innovative events formats In the Learning to Train stage of development team activities should be introduced In the Training to Train stage of development team activities should be emphasized.
38

The rationale is based on best available social development science and the practical reality that kids have fun in relays and team events. This is one of the strong recommendations in Racing on Skates that has not been translated to action. 11. SSC investigate ways to promote team events. vi. OTHER EVENTS The 400m is technically a new distance but only in that it is four laps on the 100m track. This was an event raced as part of the SSC Training to Train (junior high or middle school ages) regional events. 52% of the Branches reported that they offered this event at least two thirds of their competitions while 18% of the Branches reported not racing it. This distance is confounded with the use of the 100m tracks (Table AD4). In the section above of tracks it was noted that at the Training to TRAIN stage of development only 36% of the Branches raced on the 100m track for two thirds or more of their events (Table AD4). The rationale for the 100m track is focused on this stage of development. Quite simply the 100m track is more developmentally appropriate for skill development at the training to train stage of development and safer yet compliance is quite limited (see discussion on track size above). In the Governance section below one Branch expressed the
38 39

Racing on Skates p70 & p86 Changing Athletic Competitions, UK Athletics 40 Racing on Skates Social Affiliation and Play Stages`` p 70 41 Racing on Skates ``SSC Demographics”, p80 42 Racing on Skates “Team Activities”, p86 21 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

view that other Branches had not raced the appropriate distances for the regional events. The data above suggests that there is merit in the view. If skaters are to succeed at the feature events of the year they have to be well prepared for those distances and events and this data raises the question of whether they were properly prepared. 12. SSC should promote the racing of developmentally appropriate distances for these events. One strategy would be a require seed times for each events. SUMMARY: While the results reported by the Branches is not as strong as many would like, the challenge to make sure developmentally appropriate longer distances, super speed, endurance and team events become part of the ongoing programs (events and training). This will require creative thinking and consideration by the SSC committees and every coach of children of these stages. The challenge is not if these events are run but these developmental objectives are met. For the next few years it should be a priority to encourage coaches to take advantage of these developmental windows of trainability. This means if these events do not meet these needs then coaches, clubs and Branches have to develop alternative opportunities. This highlights the distinction made by Baseball Canada on distinguishing between the “Who and Why” from the “What and How”. While it easy and perhaps even appropriate to reject these events which are the “What and How” to have developmentally appropriate speed skating there has to be a commitment to finding a way to address these energy systems as well as psychological and social maturation at the most opportune stages of development (the “Who and Why”). The new events were only a mechanism to stimulate opportunity. They were recommended as events to encourage coaches to include this in training/practice environments on the premise that training and practice should be rewarded with events. Unfortunately with so many changes they were likely viewed not as ideas but absolutes. There is a need for every coach to consider how to achieve the developmentally appropriate objectives related to each stage of development. One argument is these are effects that should be addressed in practices and training. This argument has validity but the counter argument is that coaches will prepare children for these objectives if and only if there are events that highlight the specific objectives.

22 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

VI.

“HOW?” - 1 - GOVERNANCE

In any change paradigm the challenge is how to best utilize the most important resource - human capital. Speed Skating is blessed with a dynamic pool of expert volunteers who provide the leadership for the very successful programs. The review team wanted to capture and share the dynamic changes made by many of the Branches so others could consider how they were adapting to change. The success of the past year at the event level as documented above is linked to the diverse strategies Branches adopted to make speed skating developmentally appropriate. Based on the survey almost every Branch assigned a lead person (85% Board Member, Staff or both) or assigned it to an existing committee or created a new committee (Table G1). While there was a great deal of advanced notice it is important to note at a program level SSC procedures and Regulations were only changed in July of last year. The adaptability of the Branches for the most part came after the Branches AGM. This is clear evidence that the Branches are making a sincere effort to make speed skating developmentally appropriate. Table G 1 Did your Branch address its organizational structure to facilitate developmentally appropriate speed skating?
(President Q5)

No Staff 67% 33%

Staff 43% 43% 43% 29% 14%

Total 54% 38% 23% 15% 15%

Lead Board Member Lead Staff Implementation Committee Assigned to existing committee Changed committee structures None of the above

17% 17%

Table G1 is as reported by Survey Monkey. The Presidents survey question was poorly worded. When the responses to a supplemental question were considered the picture changed. The following are abridged comments and quotes from the follow-up:
 We were one of the few Branches to competition guidelines into our Provincial Championships. The result was that our skaters had actually qualified in the distances and races recommended when they qualified to attend the Regional Championships. The Board believes it is appropriate for us to develop and incorporate a 'made in the Branch' solution on LTPAD inspired changes to our programs. No, but we are working on it this year. There is potential for a new position which could widely change the way the board if made up. Board member who volunteered to lead the integration in the Branch. Based on a team approach to the competition scheduling, all the players were involved and all were committed to LTPAD. Two hour workshop at the Branch AGM focused on obstacles to growth There is a need to create in our Branch a culture where coaches are validated, supported and nurtured. One club, and other successful clubs, have clear policies around how the communication between coaches, their Board and parents takes place. The association will be developing best practice models for our clubs to use to enhance the structure of the clubs The coach and the Competitions Committee Chair (VP responsible for Competitions) were the leads on this program. Others were involved as we implemented the program, including the VP of Coaching, the VP Officials and the President. Our Executive Director was very helpful as the main contact person so that we could get the word out to the clubs and members. We have a consulting group, in our structure, called when there is a need to revisit any aspect in the competition structure. This group has been reactivated last September and is working on analyzing all options to identify the best course of action. We expect to have a report from the group by January 2012. To get better feedback from our regions, we started an initiative to have three meetings a year with the regions’ presidents. This will be lead by the Branch President. Our biggest change was to change the committee structure to better reflect the new LTAD format. We struck 3 new committees: one would encompass Active Start - Fundamentals - Learn To Train, another Train To Train, and finally High Performance (we may still need a committee for the master skaters). We also opened up the committees to the members at large. We felt this will allow more input from the members without having to sit on the board. These committees will allow more time to focus on the different stages in regards to racing (meets), coaching and practices to help develop & implement the LTAD format and also to help guide the Branch board in making future changes to our sport. Two standing committees (Skater and Coach Development; and High Performance) merged into Skater Development Committee, responsible for developing and implementing a skater development program consistent with LTPAD principles. A number of considerations were at play here, but primarily it was done to ensure that skater development was looked at as one, continuous course of athlete progression, with appropriate Branch support and structure at different stages of development. The restructuring was driven and supported largely by the Branch Technical Director.


        

23 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

Two Branches made significant direct changes to their committee structure and three reported a collaborative model of existing committee and two reported existing committees were well structured to consider the program implications of the developmentally appropriate speed skating. Six of the Branches reported a board member and or staff assumed the lead while other implied the whole board was involved. One Branch noted the need for a “made in the Branch approach” and the writer could not agree more. In reviewing the comments it is clear that the topic has been considered by the Branch Boards and considerable effort has been made to address the challenges. The following is an abridged list of the ideas:          Changes to Branch competition guidelines Sessions on obstacles to growth Create a culture where coaches as are validated, supported and nurtured Communication policies between coaches, parents and board Best practice models for clubs to enhance the structure of the club Committee structure focused onstage of development Merging of existing committees to insure skater development as a continuous process Standing Consulting Group to review competition structure Meetings within Branch either regions and/or clubs for feedback

The list has many good ideas that must be shared and discussed. These actions and initiatives are Branch issues. 13. SSC should look for ways to communicate the innovative governance strategies adopted by the Branches to move forward towards developmentally appropriate speed skating.

24 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

VII. “HOW?” - 2 - PROGRAM SUPPORT The program support questions focused on provincial territorial funding and reporting mechanisms support of developmentally appropriate sport. The discrepancies, between those Branches with staff and Branches without staff, are so glaring the totals can olny be considered within the context of the difference. For Branches with staff, 100% are required to report on LTAD/LTPAD as part of their funding requirements (Table PS1). 57% of these Branches were able to access funding for these programs while 29% were not able to access funds (Table PS2). Of these 43% had applied for special funding while 14% had not applied (Table PS3). Table PS 1 Is your Branch required to report on LTAD/LTPAD as part of your provincial/territorial funding requirements?

(Executive Director Q7)

No Staff 17% 67% 17%

Staff 100%

Total 62% 31% 8%

Yes No Don't Know

Table PS 2 Is your Branch able to access funding for LTAD/LTPAD implementation to make speed skating more developmentally appropriate?

(Executive Director Q8)

No Staff 33% 33% 33%

Staff 57% 29% 14%

Total 46% 31% 23%

Yes No Don't Know

Table PS 3 Has your Branch applied for funding?

(Executive Director Q9)

No Staff 17% 17% 67%

Staff 43% 14% 43%

Total 31% 15% 54%

Yes No No response
    

We will be applying this year for funding assistance for coaches / on-ice leader training Funding only became available this year (2011-2012). We have applied for it this year and are waiting to find out if it will be granted. Branch has a LTAD Grant from Provincial Sport Body. Over the past year a standing committee has been putting together a document to outline the implementation of LTAD in the province and how to create more understanding of the concept to our membership. It is part of our yearly funding from Provincial Sport Body We are currently executing a funding grant for implementation.

25 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

For Branches without staff, 83% were either not required to report or did not know if they had to report on LTAD/LTPAD (Table PS1). Only 33% reported being aware of access to funds and only 17% had applied for funding for LTAD/LTPAD (Table PS3). One must remember that there are no funds available in many jurisdictions. An aside it is likely that the lack of availability of government funds does not mean other non-government funds cannot be accessed. It is important to note that over half the Branches (54%) did not respond to the question: Has your Branch applied for funding (Table PS3)? The comments appended to Table PS3 indicate that while some Branches that have not applied are in the process of applying and funding models are different. It is an open question as to what if any role SSC should have, as this is an issue for the Branches. One argument is that it a local issue and should be addressed by the Branches. Where there are funds available it is a challenge for small Branches to find the resources to develop the proposals. The lack of funds is a challenge when implementing change. The question is what can SSC do to help? Perhaps the regional coach mentors could do some basic research and help write proposals or perhaps these Branches could work with Branch with whom they interact to get professional input. Perhaps SSC staff could play a direct role. 14. SSC should support Branches identify and apply for non government funds as well as government funds.

26 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

VIII. “HOW?” - 3 - BRANCH CAPACITY TO MAKE CHANGES The phrase “lessons learned” is used in debriefing during and at the end of a project. To acquire some “lessons learned” the review team included questions on factors that limited and assisted Branches to make changes to learn from the Branches experiences. These can be used by all levels to set priorities with respect to how all resources are deployed, both human and financial. They also should help SSC and Branches look for efficiencies of scale and collaboration. FACTORS THAT LIMITED AND ASSISTED There were three Tables summarizing the responses related to factors that limited and assisted each Branch’s ability to make changes (Tables BC1-3). While the response can provide both ideas and directions for SSC to follow, the most important finding is a distinct clustering of factors related to the staff non-staff issue. While the clusters are defined by the staff-no staff dichotomy the dichotomy is confounded by the number of members, access to resources and number of Clubs. All the non staff Branches have fewer members than the Branches with staff and some non staff Branches have only one Club. Both the Presidents and Executive Directors surveys addressed factors that limited the Branches ability to make changes (Tables BC 1-2). While only the Executive Directors were asked about factors that assisted the Branches. (Table BC 3) Table BC 1 Were there any factors that limited your Branch’s ability make program changes?
(Executive Director Q6)
43

No Staff 50% 33% 33% 67%* 50%* 17% 17% 33%*

Staff 71%* 71%* 57%* 29% 29% 43%* 43%* 14%

Total 62% 54% 46% 46% 38% 31% 31% 23%

1. 2. 3. 3. 5. 6. 6. 8.

Membership Awareness/Understanding Human Resources Financial Resources Technical Leadership (lack of) Technical Expertise (lack of) Organizational Structure Size of Membership Access to Tools and Resources

Table BC 2 Were there any factors that limited your Branch’s ability make program changes?
(President Q6)

No Staff 67% 67%* 83%* 67%* 67%* 33% 50%*

Staff 57% 43% 14% 14% 14% 29%

Total 62% 54% 46% 38% 38% 31% 23%

1. 2. 3. 4. 4. 6. 7.
    

Human Resources Membership Awareness/Understanding Technical Leadership (lack of) Technical Expertise (lack of) Financial Resources Organizational Structure Access to tools and resources

We really had no limitations other than awareness but we still made the changes necessary Some challenges in finding sufficient officials for new meet structure, that saw more than one Meet happening in the Province on the same weekend. Technology (meet Manager) Branch could have used some specific suggestions that we would passed along to the Branch’s coaches concerning the changes they could make to their practices. SSC should have a 'best practices' section as part of the LTPAD section on their website.

43

It must be noted that in Branches without staff non-paid volunteers responded to the survey. 27 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

When one looks at these tables and compares Branches with staff to those without staff, there is a clustering that needs to be identified. The below is a summary of Tables BC1-3 and presents these clusters. The factors are those that the sources differed between Branches and are listed in order of magnitude of the number of Branches reporting:
Executive Director Staff Limited Membership Awareness/Understanding Human Resources Financial Resources Organizational Structure Size of Membership Executive Director Staff Assisted Technical Leadership (lack of) Technical Expertise (lack of) Financial Resources Access to tools and resources Executive Director Non Staff Limited Technical Leadership (lack of) Technical Expertise (lack of) Access to Tools and Resources President Non Staff Limited Technical Leadership (lack of) Membership Awareness/Understanding Financial Resources Technical Expertise (lack of) Access to tools and resources

Executive Director Non Staff Assisted Human Resources Organizational Structure

Table BC 3 Were there any factors that assisted your Branch’s ability make program changes?
(Executive Director Q6)

No Staff 33% 17% 17% 50%* 50%* 33% 33% 0%

Staff 57%* 71%* 71%* 29% 29% 29% 29% 14%*

Total 46% 46% 46% 38% 38% 31% 31% 8%

1. 1. 1. 4. 4. 6. 6. 8.

Access to Tools and Resources Technical Leadership (lack of) Technical Expertise (lack of) Human Resources Organizational Structure Membership Awareness/Understanding Size of Membership Financial Resources

Lack of capacity and leadership related to our needs made it tough to happen. But we are heading in the right direction

For those with staff the Access to Tools, Technical Leadership and Technical Expertise assisted the Branches. These were the 44 three factors reported in executive directors without staff survey that limited their ability to make changes . The same three factors were identified by the responses of the presidents without staff responses. It should be noted that these finding were not unanimous in the groups but the trend is clear. The reader is directed to the contradiction of factors that assisted Branches with staff were the factors that Branches without staff identified as limiting factors. While this finding seems obvious, it is direct evidence that clearly identifies that SSC committees and SSC staff must consider the unique needs of the smaller Branches as they develop resources and other supports. Of particular potential importance for smaller Branches is the lack of technical leadership and expertise. It is likely that having staff has a triple impact of skills, knowledge of available resources (inside and outside skating) and a network that makes it easier to access these resources. It 45 also should be noted that the recently advertised position of Long Track Coach/Regional Development Mentor could directly address this for the four Atlantic Branches which all were respondents in this category. 15. SSC staff must consider the unique needs of the smaller Branches as they develop resources and other supports.

44

Note that for the non-staff Branches volunteers completed the Executive Director survey so there is no contradiction of having staff For more information on this position see the following site: http://www.speedskating.ca/index.cfm?id=

45

28 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

Setting the dichotomy aside factors that were most often identified to assist Branches make changes were: Access to tools and resources Technical Leadership Technical Expertise While three top three factors identified as limiting the Branches ability to make changes were: Human Resources Membership Awareness and Understanding Technical Leadership While Branch responsibility and autonomy has to be considered SSC through its standing committees and staff must consider 46 factors that are within SSC control. Racing on Skates and the LTAD Model provide the rationale and even direction for program change. However implementation requires professional expertise. Baseball Canada made a useful distinction between the “who and why” and the “what and how”. It is the later “what” to do which is the domain of the Branches at the younger stages of development. Success will be determined by “what” is changed and “how” it is changed. Speed skating at the Branch level is a small sport and recruits staff to fill a variety of roles. It makes good sense for them to hire staff with some technical knowledge of speed skating. However excellent these staff are their technical expertise and experiences too often defined within the older less developmentally appropriate model. This means that support systems have to consider two factors: 1) Developmentally Appropriate Events and Practice 2) The Process of Change The real question is: What can SSC, its staff and Standing Committees do to support the Branches? SSC through Racing on Skates has provided the theoretical foundation of the “who and why”. What is a needed are actions focused on what to do and how to do it to support the Branches as they move to make their program developmentally appropriate. While the position advertised is one way to address this other considerations would be in-service training for existing Branch staff, a source of best practices and development of materials to support the process of change (in particular awareness and understanding). 16. SSC consider proactive measures to support existing Branch staff in-service training, a source of best practices and development of materials to support the process of change (in particular awareness and understanding). How to support the other three smaller non-staff Branches (the territories Branches) will require some open minded thinking. Some ideas are:  Perhaps these Branches are better supported by generic sport organizations within the geographical region.  The Atlantic sport model could be considered with a dedicated staff if the Territories chose to pursue this model.  One other alternative would be to facilitate support from another Branch with staff (shared SSC Branch funding arrangements). These are not new but the trend has been to make these arrangements with larger Branches which usually often also have national training centers. This strategy which is fiscally prudent simply amplifies the distinction between the have and have not Branches.  These Branches have traditional links to geographically ‘southern’ Branches which would be another collaborative model.  One final alternative would be considering direvtly supporting the smaller southern Branches that do not have the resources of the larger Branches. While this would require a break from tradition it would help to level the playing field. These alternatives do not exhaust the options but are used to illustrate that there are many factors in play and there is potential to find a model that will focus on Branch needs as well as their ability to financially support collaborative models 17. SSC consider supporting innovative staffing support for regions and Branches.
46

Canadian Sport for Life Long Term Athlete Development Resource Paper 29 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

IX.

“HOW?” - 4 - TECHNOLOGY and COMPETITION MODELS:

One factor mentioned once in the survey (in the comments appended to table BC2) but worthy of consideration is the issue of competition organization. There are three excellent sets of SSC tools to support events: 1) SSC Procedures and Regulations, 2) Competition Bulletins and 3) software - Meet Manager. Based on the writer’s anecdotal experience there are two schools of thought regarding the usefulness of Meet Manager. Those who are close to its development are really pleased with the tool while others are not as satisfied. More disturbing is the more general idea that technology should limit change “we can’t do this because meet manager will not let work”. It should be acknowledged that some of the obstacles to change are based on “we have always done it this way” but developmentally appropriate program should not be limited by either resistance. Based on decades of being involved with competition organization there has been a major change to the use of computers. This has been a magnificent change that has very much improved competition organization. Meet Manager is one of these important innovations. Unfortunately there are two downsides. The first is meet coordinators and others often do not have the knowledge and experience to implement new programs that are not easily supported by the existing technology. The second is the technology can limit change in two ways: 1) the technology is not flexible enough to allow change or 2) those who use it do not understand how to utilize the technology. This is often confounded by tradition. For example computer programs were developed to organize ability or all-points competitions by seeding skaters into groups based on a time in a specified distance then selecting distances by the majority of the skaters in each group. The result is the non-majority skaters will be racing distances other than those defined in the SSC Procedures and Regulations (these distances cannot be developmentally appropriate for the minority skaters). If the software limits the event to a group event model then the solution is to group by stage of development. The problem with grouping by stage of development is that unless there are large numbers of skaters in the stage of development some skaters will dominate and other will have difficulty 47 keeping up. This violates the principle “Be meaningful for all participants (skaters, coaches, officials, parents, volunteers)”. 48 Meaningful implies a chance to succeed and even win but success requires some uncertainty and excitement . One possible solution would be to seed skaters across developmental stages into developmentally appropriate distances. Each distance would be an independent event (including seed times) and skaters would race developmentally appropriate distances in meaningful races against skaters of their own speed for that distance. If this is considered a viable model the technology and meet coordinator and referee education must make this easy to do. 18. SSC insure technology supports developmentally appropriate skating and is properly documented. 19. SSC through its relevant committees (Coaching, Competitions and Officials Committees) promote viable competition models thru bulletins and education programs (coaches and officials).

47 48

Racing on Skates Appendix 1 “Speed Skating Canada’s Guiding Principles for Competitions and Events”, p56-61 Racing on Skates “What is Meaningful Competition”, p17 30 | P a g e

Report – Branch Surveys, Toward Developpementally Appropriate Speed Skating for Speed Skating in Canada Based on the LTAD Model

October 2011

X.

CAVEATS

The writer has put forward very aggressive recommendations regarding SSC resources and would be naïve not to recognize that SSC has also has very limited resources to meet this mandate. The recommendations should never be considered in isolation from the SSC “Guiding Principles for Competitions and 49 Events” , the developmental constructs, the developmental recommendations and the data gathered by the surveys. The recommendations are presented to focus the discussion on issues, principles, developmental theory and evidence. The reader, SSC and all its members are asked not to blindly accept or reject the recommendations but encouraged to ask two questions of each section: Does the evidence identify a legitimate problem? What is the best practical developmentally appropriate speed skating solution?

49

Racing on Skates Appendix 1 “Speed Skating Canada’s Guiding Principles for Competitions and Events”, p56-61 31 | P a g e

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful