Mind the Gaps

  • At the 2006 Special Olympics National Conference, LTAD was presented to a wide variety of experts who work with athletes with an intellectual disability. The forum allowed these experts to raise issues that needed further review with respect to consistency with the philosophy of LTAD.
  • Programs for younger Special Olympics participants are not offered consistently across the country.
  • In many cases, participants don't have the sport skills they need to play certain games effectively. As in generic sport, this limits the participant's sport choices and affects his or her feelings of competence when participating. Many participants stop participating if they are not successful.
  • In some cases, individuals supervising or coaching may not have the necessary expertise in physical fitness and teaching basic sport skills. As well, individuals may not have the necessary sport-specific coaching skills to teach the technical aspects of a sport.
  • SOC must continue to pursue relationships and partnerships with more NSOs.
  • In some cases, athletes with national and international aspirations who systematically train are left off provincial and national teams despite elite performances in competition due to the current quota system.
  • One of the purposes of competition is to motivate athletes to train systematically in order to be better prepared as a competitor and to recap the benefits of being more physically fit. In some cases, athletes increase the quantity and quality of training only once they have qualified for a higher level of competition. Increased training often results in athletes moving up to the next level of competition while athletes who do not increase their training may stay at the same level. This creates a perceived disadvantage for athletes who increase their training as part of their overall sport preparation. Ultimately, SOC would like the system of competition to encourage athletes to increase their training, aiming to qualify for the next level of competition. The divisioning process needs to be examined in order to address this issue.
  • Athletes have limited opportunities to compete on a year-round basis.
  • Competition is technically, physically, and psychologically demanding. As an athlete advances to higher levels of competition, these demands become more challenging. It is critical that athletes have a positive competitive experience at all levels of competition. Therefore, it is important that they be technically, physically, and psychologically ready to compete. In the future, this needs to be addressed through the selection and endorsement process.