Canadian Cyclist


May 11/07 8:46 am - Atlantic National Cycling Centre Revamps Programs for 2007

Posted by Editor on 05/11/07

Atlantic National Cycling Centre Revamps Programs for 2007
Courtesy Luc Arseneau

The conclusion of the 2006 cycling season, with the hosting of the National Track Championships, later named CCA event of the year, marked an important benchmark for the Atlantic Cycling Centre. Many successes marked the first years of the Centre and its athletes.

2006 saw the 40th national championships medal by a Centre cyclist over the past 5 years and the signing of many trade team contracts, a major progression for Atlantic Canada. In this short time period, Atlantic Canadian cyclists earned the respect of the rest of the country and are now aiming even higher.

The winter months offered the Centre staff and Corporation members some valued time to take a close look at its program and adapt them to the Canadian Cycling Association's LTAD (Long Term Athlete Development) stages. "As head coach, it was really important for me to grab this opportunity and turnaround created by the LTAD and make sure we were leaders in adjusting our programs accordingly. Too often in the past, I've received riders in our Giant Elite programs who were missing skills or key performance factors limiting their progression, closing the gaps was a priority;" says Luc Arseneau.

The process was complex, but simple at the same time. "My philosophy was simple; I designed the program according to the athlete I want to get in the later development stages. We did a complete inventory of our programs, our resources and the status of each discipline. From this, we linked this inventory to each stage and made sure no gaps were left."

Active Start: Ages 6 - 10 (M & F) - BMX Wheelies

FUNdamentals: Ages 9 - 12 (M & F) - Sprockids

Learn to Train: Ages 12 - 14 (M) and 12-15 (F) - Peter Wedge Program

Train to Train: Ages 15 - 17 (M) and 16-18 (F) +/- - Provincial Tier

Learn to Compete: Giant Elite Bronze

Train to Compete: Giant Elite Silver (and National JR Team)

Learn to Win: Ages Giant Elite Gold (and National Espoir Team)

Train to Win: Giand Elite Gold A (and National Elite Team)

Active for Life: Enter at any age

We must also mention the arrival of BMX in our region. The construction of the Dieppe BMX track should be completed in the next few weeks and encouraged a big change in our programs. BMX becoming an Olympic discipline finally offers cycling a chance to cover the full range of developmental stages.

With each stage comes its importance. It is no longer true that we can only focus on the top of the pyramid and expect results. Too many athletes have been burnt and are now out of cycling because we did not pay enough attention to the earlier stages. As a National Cycling Centre with a mandate of developing athletes to the top of the cycling world, this was simply no longer acceptable.

The Canadian Cycling Association's LTAD is comprised of nine (9) development stages and involves many stakeholders. Designing a program to fit every stage is seen as the easy part, involving everyone in the same path could sound a little harder. "At this moment, I'm glad to be working with a great group of decision makers in Atlantic Canada. They are all on board with the suggested program. The Centre will mainly take care of the later stages, but such philosophy would not work without local and provincial involvement;" adds the Centre's head coach.

This new Atlantic program sub-devised the LTAD into four (4) streams. The Train to Win to Learn to Compete stages are going to be covered by our traditional Giant Elite program. This program takes care of the best cyclists in our region and bring them to their highest goals. In the later stages, the National Team and Trade Teams will become important partners.

A little earlier on in the development stages, we identified a gap at the Train to Train stage. We proposed a Provincial Tier program where we will be hiring an assistant coach to work with the respective provincial coaches. This will introduce provincial (and Canada Games) team core groups to better training methods and offer them basic sport science services.

The initial three stages of the LTAD (Active Start, FUNdamentals, and Learn to Train) have been combined to be offered at the local level. The involvement of the Centre will be one of leadership, but still very important as the programs will be written and edited by the Centre's head coach.

The Active start programs will revolve around BMX. We hope to be able to encourage the development of several BMX facilities in our region within the next few years. As for the FUNdamentals, we will rely on the internationally recognized Sprockids program. For both of these stages, skills development, self esteem and having fun while biking will be the main goals.

Once these skills have been mastered, it'll be time to build a physical literacy to go along with it. No program actually existed to fully answer the demands of the Learn to Train stage; so we will soon be launching the Peter Wedge Program. It's at this stage many young hopeful will take a decision to go from a participant to a cyclist. While fun must still be a priority of the program, a certain structure of the sessions must also be in place for the duration of the program. Advanced cycling skills, although it is understood these skills were learned at the Fundamental stage, will also be an important aspect of such program. The delivery of these skills will now be transferred into an introduction to racing environment where they will need to be mastered in a sequential and repetition fashion. Base training fundamentals will also be introduced to the young cyclists during the program.

This decision to align the programs under one umbrella is an important one for the Atlantic region. "With these coaching programs well in place, the Atlantic Cycling Centre will certainly take an important role in our region. But most importantly, it will define everyone's role and responsibilities towards a solid development plan for our cyclists. By having the Centre, the provincial organizations and the clubs heading in the same direction, will mark a major turnaround in our region and we should see the results in a few years;" add the Centre chairmen, Guy Vincent.

For more information, contact:

Luc Arseneau Head Coach, National Cycling Centre - Atlantic Canada


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