Fitting the pieces together (part 2)

February 26, 2013
Soccer coach goes over the game plan

Yesterday, I posed the question: “If the Canadian Sport Policy 2012 is the over-arching blueprint for the Canadian sport system, how do all the pieces fit together?” Today, let me suggest a rather simple analogy in an attempt to do just that – fit the pieces together. Think of Canadian sport as a four-legged stool (the kind you sit on).

The first of the legs on the stool would be participation, specifically, increasing participation rates in sport. There are many excellent programs working to increase participation in sport. From programs that encourage us to get active (notably through sport), like the iconic ParticipACTION, to programs that address the barriers (largely economic) to participation in sport, such as Canadian Tire’s Jump Start, Kidsport, Right to Play and others.

The second leg on the stool would be high-performance excellence and the pursuit of medal performances in international competitions. Own the Podium exists precisely for this purpose – to ensure our athlete high-performance development system is maximizing our athletes’ chances of winning. The Canadian Olympic Committee sets the performance criteria for selection of our Olympic/Paralympic teams and makes sure our Canadian Olympic/Paralympic teams, once selected, are properly prepared and supported when they go off to compete.

A third leg would be the preparation of competent coaches to assist our athletes, at all levels, in acquiring the sport skills they need to compete in sport at the level of their ability and interest. The Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) and Coaches of Canada immediately come to mind here. The CAC and their competency-based, National Coaching Certification Program is respected the world over. Coaches of Canada addresses the needs of our professional coaches, of whom it might be argued, there are too few.

A fourth leg on our four-legged stool might be Canadian Sport for Life and their approach to physical literacy. This age and stage approach to the acquisition of sport skills is revolutionizing our approach to sport development, and of course, contributes significantly to the Canadian Sport Policy 2012 goals of increased participation and excellence.

That accounts for most of what the Policy has set out as its blueprint for Canadian sport and the pieces that comprise it, except for one important piece – the values. In tomorrow’s blog post, we’ll take a look at this key component.