Green & Gold Philosophy

The Green & Gold Sport System represents a coordinated approach to developing athletes from grassroots participation to the elite level of sport. Built around the principles of the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) framework and other academically recognized models such as the Developmental Model of Sport Participation and Positive Youth Development, our camps and programs feature age-appropriate opportunities for participation across a variety of sports. Our system has been designed to address some of the issues that currently affect youth sport. Young athletes are being forced to specialize in one sport much earlier than in the past, thereby limiting their ability to acquire the broad range of fundamental movement skills that serve as the foundation for overall athleticism. Early specialization in a single sport at the expense of participation in other activities has also been shown to potentially lead to overuse injuries and athlete burnout in some cases.

Our response to these trends is to feature multi-sport participation throughout Green & Gold Sport System programming to ensure our athletes are prepared to explore, engage and excel in any sport they choose to pursue. All of our camps and programs include a multi-sport component to provide athletes with a complete training experience.  Improving fundamental movement skills, including those associated with an athlete’s sport of choice as well as those skills that aren’t, will help all athletes regardless of the sport they play. An example of this theory in practice is working on kicking with tennis athletes. Even though kicking is not one of the fundamental movement skills associated with the game of tennis, by working on that skill, tennis players will improve their agility and footwork thereby helping them excel on the court.

The nature of an athlete’s involvement in a particular sport has been defined as a 3-step process: Explore, Engage and Excel. These steps relate to an athlete’s level of experience with the sport and the amount of time they are prepared to dedicate to training and competition.

Table Title: Nature of Sport Involvement, Explaining our Levels of Explore, Engage, Excel.

Green & Gold Sport System Program Classifications

Required Sport-Specific Experience Level of Sport Involvement
Explore No Experience Necessary Playground/ P.E Class
Engage Some Competitive Experience  Community League
Excel High-Level Competitive Experience  Travel or Club Team

This progression is designed to give young athletes the opportunity to participate systematically in a variety of sports throughout their adolescence and young adulthood with an understanding of broader competitive patterns and expectations. Our system emphasizes the importance of building a strong general athletic foundation through multi-sport involvement that will complement any athletes sport-specific pursuits regardless of the nature of their involvement in any given sport.

The Green & Gold Sport System is committed to the development of the whole athlete beyond the base physical and athletic needs that participation in sport requires. Supporting the mental wellness of athletes in our programs is critically important and our approach features teaching methods adapted to the age of the participants. Opportunities to teach life skills such as respect and teamwork are embedded throughout the curriculum in our programs to help prepare young athletes for the challenges they will face in sport. As our athletes progress towards more elite competition, performance-related mental skills such as confidence, focus, and resilience are highlighted to ensure our athletes are ready to perform in the heat of competition. Caring for the mental health of our athletes goes beyond improving competitive results. The design of our system seeks to provide our participants with balance and self-compassion in their lives through empathetic scheduling and coaching. It is our hope and intention to help our athletes reap all the benefits that sport can provide.

Participation in sport can be a powerful experience for young athletes that can have a positive impact on their long-term physical and mental development. The Green & Gold Sport System provides a path for athletes that draws upon the knowledge and resources of the University of Alberta and avoids the potential pitfalls typically associated with youth sport.