Figuring out who will adopt “the long-term athlete development model”


François Trudeau has always played sports. That’s what led him to study physical education. Now a professor at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, he also coaches cross-country skiing and cross-country running teams.

In 2009, he took his interest in sports training and developed a research project on a hitherto little-studied coaching model: the long-term development of participants or athletes. Contrary to classic training models that focus on the athlete’s age, this model is based on the idea that training has to take into consideration the athlete’s physical, mental and emotional maturity.

In 2004, as part of its sports excellence strategy, Sport Canada made implementing the long-term athlete development model a priority. A few years later, Trudeau developed a research project around this model. Called “determinants in the adoption of the long-term athlete development model,” it looked at what drove whether coaches of amateur teams and parents of athletes in Quebec and Eastern Ontario adopted the model.

The researcher found, among other things, that one of the key factors is knowing that the model exists. The research showed that, to increase the model’s popularity, efforts are needed to raise awareness about it. Trudeau also identified another important factor: being able to see the model applied leads to  wider adoption of it.

This research was funded by Sport Canada through the Sports Participation Research Initiative.