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Long Term Athlete Development

Long-Term Athlete Development Framework

*insert from Badminton Canada’s 2nd Edition, 2017

Badminton Canada’s second generation Long-Term Athlete Development Framework, is built on the principle of Kaizen – the process of continuous improvement – and incorporates the most recent knowledge from sport science and coaching. Effective Long-Term Athlete Development will be a work in progress, incorporating new findings, and new thinking as it emerges. Readers are encouraged to re-visit the Badminton Canada website www.badminton.ca periodically to make sure they are working with the very latest version of the LTAD document.

Long-Term Athlete Development is NOT a program, but rather an approach to ensuring that everything done in badminton is developmentally appropriate. This means doing the right kind of training, having the right kind of competition, and putting in place the right supports for every player, and basing that training, competition and support on the athlete’s stage of development.

For high performance success, systematic development of both able-bodied and para-athletes will be required if Canada is to make its mark at the world level, and this requires close alignment of: 

  • Badminton’s Gold Medal Pathways and Podium Profiles for both able bodied and para- athletes with, 
  • Badminton’s Integrated Long-Term Athlete Development framework,

For population health, badminton can also play a role in enhancing the health, wellness and wellbeing of Canadians of all ages through health enhancing physical activity. Because it is a sport that can be played by people at any age, with any degree of fitness, and with almost all disabilities badminton can play its part in reducing the many non- communicable diseases that come from lack of physical activity. Badminton can therefore help: 

  • Reduce the number of overweight and obese children, and 
  • Help adults maintain a healthy lifestyle, and
  • Encourage more mature Canadians to become, and stay, physically active, thereby maintain health and independence, and potentially slowing down the aging process.

Remember: Long-Term Athlete Development is not just a model for developing elite athletes; it provides a solid foundation for badminton players at all ages and levels, encouraging long-term participation, enjoyment and always achievement. Long-Term Athlete Development based programs and competition; supported by updated coaching materials and qualified coaches, will ensure that all participants in our sport regardless of their level of play will enjoy a quality experience. The ultimate goal is to make badminton a quality sport of which we can all be proud

Stage Objective: Learn fundamental movements and link them together in play.

Physical activity is essential for healthy child development. Among its other benefits, physical activity:

  • Enhances development of brain function, coordination, social skills, gross motor skills, emotions, leadership, and imagination. 
  • Helps children to build confidence and positive self-esteem. 
  • Helps to build strong bones and muscles, improves flexibility, develops good posture and balance, improves fitness, reduces stress, and improves sleep. 
  • Promotes healthy weight.
  • Helps children learn to move skillfully and enjoy being active.

Physical activity should be fun and a part of the child’s daily life, not something required. Active play is the way young children are physically active. 

Training framework:

  • 1-2 sessions per week
  • 30-60 minutes per session
  • 3-4 additional non badminton activity sessions per week, 30-60 minutes

To access the full Canadian Badminton Long Term Athlete Development handbook, click here.

Stage Objective: Learn all fundamental movement skills and build overall motor skills.

Skill development in the FUNdamentals stage should be well-structured, positive, and FUN! The first window of accelerated adaptation to speed occurs at ages 6 to 8 for girls and 7 to 9 for boys. Bypassing fundamental movement skill development by teaching specialized sport-specific skills during the FUNdamentals stage is detrimental to the child’s future engagement in physical activity and sport.

No periodization of training takes place; however, all programs are well structured and well monitored. If children are falling behind their peers in developing fundamental movement skills, remediation is desirable, since children without skills are frequently excluded from informal play by their more skillful peers. If children later decide to leave the competitive stream, the skills they acquire during the FUNdamentals stage will benefit them when they engage in recreational activities, enhancing their quality of life and health. However, participating once or twice a week in a child’s preferred sport is good, so long as there is participation in additional sports 3 or 4 times per week. It is over-specialization that is detrimental.

Although badminton is a land-based, indoor sport it is important that kids at this stage learn water based, snow and ice based, and in-the-air body control skills – all of which will be beneficial to them in later life; whether or not they continue to play badminton.

The ‘SMASH’ Program

The ‘SMASH’ Program, short for – Sport Motivated Activities to Sustain Health – is designed to engage school children through the sport of badminton to promote healthy active living. It includes a 7 week instructional program once or twice a week for one hour before or after school. The lessons incorporate 10 minutes of nutrition and healthy active living education along with the fundamentals of badminton. Each child is given a SMASH diary where they track nutrition, activity and liquid intake. The school’s overall healthy active score (taken from the diaries) is compared to other schools participating in the program. At the end of the program, a tournament is held to determine the overall SMASH champions. Events included “Most Healthy Active Team Award”, which recognizes the highest number of completed Diary’s from schools; a round robin team tournament and contests such as who can rally the bird the longest, shot accuracy and fitness relays.

To find out how you can bring SMASH to your school, click here to e-mail us about Programs.

Stage Objective: Learn overall sports skills.

One of the most important periods of motor development for children is between the ages of 9 and 12. This is a window of accelerated adaptation to motor co-ordination, and it is critical to take full advantage of the ease with which children learn sport skills. This is also an age at which there is increasing pressure to specialize in a single sport. This pressure should be resisted, because early specialization in late specialization sports can be detrimental to later stages of sport development and to refinement of the fundamental sport skills.

This is also the stage of development at which many athletes enter badminton. Some are introduced to the sport through school physical education, while others may get their introduction at a badminton club. For the optimum development of athletes in badminton, there needs to be a clear pathway for children who show badminton promise in school to be linked up with a local badminton club.

As an athlete begins to develop technical skills in badminton, they are encouraged to start competing at regional level events. Badminton Ontario provides Regional Competitions in each District that cater to athletes learning to train in badminton.

Training to Competition ratio:

  • 5% off court training
  • 65% on court training
  • 20% on court competition simulation
  • 10% real competition.

Regional District Competition

Visit our events calendar to find regional competitions in your area.

Stage Objective: Build an aerobic base, develop speed and strength towards the end of the stage, and further develop and consolidate sport specific skills.

This stage occurs for the duration of the athlete’s adolescent growth spurt, which for females occurs between the ages of 11 and 15, and for males between the ages of 12-16. The age of onset varies greatly, and since badminton competitions are often based on chronological rather than developmental age, age-group competition success is often a poor predictor of adult badminton potential.

During this stage young athletes consolidate and refine their basic sport-specific skills and tactics, and are beginning to focus heavily on badminton as their major sport. This stage provides a window of accelerated adaptation to aerobic fitness, whole body speed, and strength training, with optimal aerobic trainability beginning with the onset of the adolescent growth spurt.

There is an increased focus on competitions, and athletes may play to win, but may also use some competitions to practice techniques and tactics under competition conditions. The major focus remains on developing badminton skills, improving skill execution under pressure, on making better on-court decisions, and improving speed and fitness.

During times of very rapid growth some athletes may experience a decline in badminton skill performance as they learn to adjust shots to accommodate for their changing limb length. As growth slows, their former deft touch will likely return.

As athletes start to identify badminton as one of their primary sports, they begin to look outside their schools and clubs for training and competition. Badminton Ontario offers two programs to help these athletes discover and improve their skills: the Junior C Development Tournament Series and the Junior B Competitive Tournament Series.

Training to Competition ratio:

  • 15% off court training
  • 45% on court training
  • 30% on court competition simulation
  • 10% real competition.

Junior (C) Development Series

This group of tournaments is a series of 1 or 2 day tournaments, with up to 5 tournaments in a season.

This series has 4 age groups to participate in; U13, U15, U17 and U19. It encourages competition in athletes starting to train in their schools, and is open to C level players or below. Continued competition is encouraged through the Ontario Junior Rankings System (OJRS) which tracks an athlete’s progress through the season and allows them to compare results with other athletes. The series is also a feeder system into the next level of competition, our Black Knight Junior (B) Competitive Tournament Series.

Black Knight Junior (B) Competitive Series

This group of tournaments is a series of 1 or 2 day tournaments, with up to 10 tournaments in a season.

This series has 4 age groups to participate in; U13, U15, U17 and U19. It encourages competition in athletes starting to train in their schools and local badminton training clubs, and is open to B level players or below. Continued competition is encouraged through the Ontario Junior Rankings System (OJRS) which tracks an athlete’s progress through the season and allows them to compare results with other athletes. The series is also a feeder system into the next level of competition, our Black Knight Junior (A) High Performance Tournament Series.

Stage Objective: Refine physical capacities to be competitive, become comfortable in the competitive environment, and begin to be a singles/doubles specialist.

By this stage athlete specialize in badminton, although they may also engage in other sports to maintain fitness during the off-season. Athletes engage in year-round, high intensity, individualized, training programs, including individually tailored recovery programs, psychological preparation, and technical/tactical development.

Emphasis is placed on optimum preparation by ‘modeling’ intense competitions during training. Following the adolescent growth spurt, and its major gains in aerobic fitness, and strength, the focus of physical training becomes building explosive power, and increasing the duration of high intensity physical activity before fatigue impacts performance.

Athletes who are now proficient at performing all badminton technical skills, learn to perform those skills under a variety of competition-like conditions during training and in competition. Badminton athletes begin to gain World Badminton Federation ranking points at Junior or Senior International events, with a target of being in the World Top 300 by the end of this stage.

Badminton Ontario’s primary role in this stage is providing competition through: Black Knight Junior (A) High Performance Tournament Series and the Adult Open Tournament Series. 

Training to Competition ratio:

  • 15% off court training,
  • 25% on court training
  • 40% on court competition simulation
  • 20% real competition.

Black Knight Junior (A) High Performance Series

As an athlete moves from regional competition to the provincial Junior C & B series, they begin to advance their skills and search for higher competition. From the Junior B series (TtoT), athletes feed into the Junior (A) High Performance Series.

This group of tournaments is a series of 2 day tournaments, with up to 7 tournaments in a season. This series has 5 age groups to participate in; U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19.  This series encourages competition in athletes who are training 3-6 days a week at their club. With this club training they are given off court training, on court training and on court competition simulation by their coaches.

Adult Open Series

Badminton Ontario offers our members the Adult Open Series. This series attracts top Junior (A) HP players looking for higher competition, top adults from Colleges and Universities, and returning professional players and young coaches from overseas programs. This series of events gives athletes a completely different competitive atmosphere from the Junior programs they progressed through, allowing them to gain experience and confidence among stronger, older and more experienced athletes. It also gives high level competition to adults wishing to remain competitive as they continue their pursuits Nationally and Internationally, while training 3-7 days a week. 

Stage Objective: Fine-tune physical capacities to compete internationally. Competition and training focused on singles, male or female doubles, or mixed doubles. Athletes feels at home on international circuit. Badminton Athletes with a strong desire to represent Canada at the highest level, strive for BWF ranking between 24 and 100 during this stage. 

At this stage, athletes are training and competing full-time and are in or on the verge of being selected for the Canadian Senior National Team. Working under the direction of the National Team Coach they are guided by an Integrated Support Team with specialized expertise in areas such as strength and conditioning, sport psychology, sport nutrition and hydration. They have access to sport-specialized medical and physiotherapy services, and counseling. Athletes have multi-year training plans and peak for important competitions.

Athletes travel extensively to international competitions, and are comfortable in a wide range of cultural situations, can maintain fitness and nutritional status while on the road, and have achieved balance between the demands of badminton, work (or education) and the demands of positive relationships.

Athletes are regularly tested for banned substances (and methods) and are comfortable with doping control procedures -understanding both their rights and responsibilities. Athletes complete requirements for their Biological Passport, and are vigilant about using only approved nutritional supplements, carrying prescriptions for any medically approved drugs, and applying for Therapeutic Use Exemptions if and when necessary. Athletes accumulate ranking points at Junior or Senior International events, with a target of being in the World Top 300 by the end of this stage.

After athletes identify badminton as their primary sport and begin training up to 5 days a week in their club, they begin to look for local elite competition. Badminton Ontario offers two programs to help these athletes discover and improve their skills: Black Knight Junior (A) High Performance Tournament Series and Skills Camps or Talent Identification Camps. 

Training to Competition ratio:

  • 15% off court training
  • 30% on court training
  • 30% on court competition simulation
  • 25% real competition

Black Knight Junior (A) High Performance Series

As an athlete moves from regional competition to the provincial Junior C & B series, they begin to advance their skills and search for higher competition. From the Junior B series (Train to Train stage), athletes feed into the Junior (A) High Performance Series.

This group of tournaments is a series of 2 day tournaments, with up to 7 tournaments in a season. This series has 5 age groups to participate in; U11, U13, U15, U17 and U19.  This series encourages competition in athletes who are training 3-6 days a week at their club. With this club training they are given off court training, on court training and on court competition simulation by their coaches. The Junior (A) High Performance Series is a feeder system into the next level of competition, the National Elite Series.


Skills Development & Talent Identification Camps

Skills camps are offered through each District for the purpose of developing and selecting their Regional team for the Ontario Winter Games. Contact your District representative for more information on an upcoming skills development camp. Talent Identification Camps are offered by Badminton Ontario to track emerging young athletes to represent Team Ontario at the Canada Winter Games. 

Stage Objective: Podium Performance at the highest international levels of competition (Olympics, Paralympics and World Championships.

Badminton athletes at this stage are quite simply among the best in the world. They are in contention for podium performances at major international events, and everything in their training and preparation is geared to winning those flagship events. Quadrennial training plans are the norm, incorporating multiple periodization as necessary.

Badminton Athletes should be striving for top 16 or better in the Badminton World Federation rankings. These athletes are supported by world-leading Integrated Support Teams who are on the cutting edge of new information and improved application of knowledge in their specialties. All training is based on closely monitored test-results, and is designed to achieve peak performances when it counts the most. Effective media and social media training is important.

Coaches and support teams use advanced analytics to provide real-time advantage to athletes during competitions, and to spot evolving trends in opponents’ tactics, shot selection, and shot execution. To perform at this level and beat European and Asian champions requires more than the application of all existing training and coaching knowledge – it requires pushing the envelope and making thoughtful extrapolations from what is being done – to what needs to be done in the future to achieve success.

Towards the end of this stage, athletes begin to plan their transition out of high-performance badminton.

Badminton Ontario supports our athletes at this stage of LTAD by hosting an event on both the National Junior Elite Series and National Senior Elite Series with Badminton Canada.

Training to Competition ratio:

  • 10% off court training
  • 20% on court training
  • 70% on court competition simulation and real competition

National Elite Series

The National Elite events, the Toronto Junior Open and Toronto Open, provides an opportunity for our top junior and adult athletes to experience a more consistent and higher range of competition. This series provides a National Junior Ranking that they can use to compare themselves with other athletes in Canada which encourages them to explore additional cross-Canada competitions. It also provides an opportunity to be identified and selected to the National Team. This series offers prize money as an incentive to top players and also gives a taste for professional level competition to athletes.

Stage Objective: Being engaged in badminton for the love of competition, or for the health and social benefits obtained.

The vast majority of badminton athletes know they will never make the National Team, will never be a National, Olympic or Paralympic champion, and will never make a living from playing the sport they love. All of these athletes are in the Active for Life stage of Long-Term Athlete Development. There are generally two streams of badminton players in this stage, those who are:

Competitive for Life: These are athletes who compete in formal competitions organized by Badminton Canada and its affiliates, but who are not on the high-performance track. They may compete in age-group or masters’ events and may train hard for success. Alternatively they may never engage in off-court training, but rather play in competitions regularly just because they love the experience and the challenge.

Fit for Life: These athletes play for fun or in less formal competitions in their local clubs and recreation centres simply because they love the sport, and because they derive health and social benefits from their participation.

Other Active for Life Options: In addition to playing and competing, there are many other opportunities for on-going involvement in badminton. Individuals who love the sport can become officials or coaches, or can serve on the Boards of Directors of clubs, Provincial Badminton organizations or Badminton Canada. Clubs are always looking for volunteers to help out at events, or to raise funds for junior programs.

Badminton Ontario and its District Member Associations provide programs for all ages and levels of athletes wanting to participate in the sport of badminton. Programs include: Regional Competitions and Masters Tournament Series. 


Masters Series

The Masters Series offers competition to members of all levels ages 30+. This series offers 8 age groups of competition: 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and 65 for men and women in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.


Regional Competition

As an athlete graduates from our Junior Competition programs and decides to focus on school or other goals in life, they are able to continue playing badminton in a fun and competitive atmosphere. This regional level of competition is also a great way for new players to enjoy a competitive atmosphere at their own level. You can view regional events hosted by our District Member Associations on our events calendar.

Aboriginal Long-Term Participant Development Pathway

The Aboriginal Long-Term Participant Development (ALTPD) Pathway document is a roadmap for developing sport and physical activity among Aboriginal peoples. 

For more information regarding the ALTPD Pathway, please see the ALTPD info page