A comprehensive athlete development system is necessary to recruit and develop athletes from grass-roots participation to the highest levels of competition and for the health and survival of any high performance sport program.
Athlete with a Disability (AWAD) recruitment and development offers challenges which create a need for changes in approach to an able-bodied system. The AWAD system is inherently different because there are far fewer athletes than in able-bodied sport and AWAD tend to come to sport much later in life. AWAD athlete recruitment and development strategies need to be creative and account for these differences.
This is an issue across all Para-sports and in many nations around the world. Recruitment and development strategic initiatives are currently being undertaken by the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) in Canada and by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) at the international level. It is realized by these organizations, which focus on high performance, that recruitment and development are important for the long term survival of Para-sport. Cross Country Canada is currently working to develop a comprehensive athlete development strategy specifically for Para-Nordic.
This initiative has already been started with the production of Cross-Country Skiing - A Sport For Life: Long Term Athlete Development Guide for Athletes with a Disability (LTAD-AWAD). The LTAD-AWAD guide is being used as the base for developing the overall AWAD recruitment and development strategy. The AWAD guide is a supplement to the able-bodied Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) guide and generally follows the progression outlined in the able-bodied LTAD but focuses on factors that need to be considered when working with athletes with a disability. The LTAD-AWAD guide is available in an electronic format on this website. Copies are available free from your Division Office on request.
The inclusion of Para-Nordic events in the Canada Winter Games (CWG) has become a recruitment and development focus. Both athletes and coaches area able to use the CWG as a goal because the CWG offer an appropriate competitive environment given the level of development of Canada's Para-Nordic athlete and coach development systems at this time.
For more specific and detailed information on CCC's Long Term Athlete Development Guide and overall Athlete Development system please go to the CCC Athlete development page.