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Decisions made at the national sport level influence participation at the community level. Problems occur when there is misalignment between what is needed for each level and what is decided at the top. Decision-makers should consider how they can generate alignment between all levels in a sports pathway to improve long-term player development.

Researchers suggest that the best way to promote fair sport is to move away from a solely doping-centric focus towards promoting high levels of integrity. In this 2022 article, researchers question the usefulness of the term “clean sport,” which is theorized differently as “drug-free sport” versus “cheating-free” sport.

Coaches looking to improve their skills through mentorship programs will get the most out of the experience if they receive support through training and resources. And research shows that training for mentees can be just as helpful as training for mentors. Mentees’ experiences improve when they have a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities in a mentoring relationship, and build connections with other mentees and mentors.

Showing consideration and compassion for women athletes’ long-term health and goals, both during and after athletes’ careers, is critical in high performance sport. Rather than rely on hindsight in retirement, evidence-based guidance is needed to support women athletes as they progress through their careers so that they can prioritize their health for life. Check out the findings of new research examining the long-term health outcomes of retired high performance Canadian female rowing and rugby athletes in the SIRC blog.

While long-term athlete development frameworks are meant for any age, adults report a lack of programming tailored to adult development. By emphasizing adult programming (for example, adult hockey or figure-skating programs targeted at those who did not learn how to skate as a child), organizations can bring more people into the game, grow their membership base, and contribute to Canadian adults’ physical and mental wellbeing.

As sport leaders and organizations, we’re often concerned with participant retention. We rarely consider how dropout may play an important role in sport development pathways, or potential pathways for sport re-engagement later in life. The inclusion of sport dropout as a potential pathway in long-term sport participation models could push for a dialogue on how to avoid drop-out and promote sport re-engagement.

Encouraging youth to try multiple sports increases their odds of staying active into adulthood and doesn’t interfere with their chances of reaching high levels of performance. But trying multiple sports means that youth will eventually drop out of at least some of these sports, and existing sport participation models rarely (if ever) discuss sport withdrawal or dropout. Is it time to rethink out long-term sport participation models?

Physical and health education teachers and coaches are experts at helping kids learn new skills. By patiently walking students through each learning step, they build the blocks of learners’ physical literacy. However, sport and recreation experiences aren’t built on physical skills alone. Instead, the experiences are wrapped in life lessons, personal growth and a few hard knocks. At the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), we designed a new True Sport resource with those teachable moments in mind. This resource provides educators with a series of activities that focus on developing physical and ethical literacy, side by side.

True Sport logo

Called The True Sport Experience – Volume 1: FUNdamentals, the new resource is endorsed by Physical and Health Education (PHE) Canada for educators, coaches and recreational leaders of children, aged 6 to 9. It presents a series of energetic and fun activities, featuring at least 1 of the 7 True Sport Principles, for use in classrooms and on playgrounds or community sports fields. Using this resource, teachers can help their students discover the values at the heart of sport.

The 7 True Sport Principles are: Go for it, Play fair, Keep it fun, Stay healthy, Respect others, Include everyone, and Give back. The principles promote the kind of sport experiences that most Canadians already believe in and practise. That is, sport that’s fair, promotes excellence, fosters inclusion and is fun.

Why ethical literacy?

In short, The True Sport Experience is a blueprint intended to create positive sport and recreation experiences. It marries physical literacy activities with ethical literacy learning objectives.

Children riding bikes outside

Many of us are familiar with physical literacy, described as “the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge, and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life” (International Physical Literacy Association, 2020). But, ethical literacy may be a new concept. At the CCES, we define ethical literacy as “the ability to collect and evaluate information, reflect on one’s own moral values, identify the potential outcomes of various options and their impacts, make reasoned decisions about which options align with one’s values, act consistently with one’s values, explain one’s decisions, and take responsibility for one’s actions.”

That sounds like a concept for adults, but the activities in The True Sport Experience are developmentally appropriate for kids in the FUNdamentals stage of Sport for Life’s Long-term development (LTD) in sport and physical activity. Kids will explore, apply and evaluate how their personal values influence their ethical decision-making, in real time, through structured and unstructured play environments.

For example, the Heart Healthy Bingo activity mixes tasks like doing 20 jumping jacks and telling a peer the reason it’s important to drink enough water. Such tasks should get kids talking about how to stay healthy in both mind and body. In the “Include Everyone” chapter, the Musical Hoops activity reinforces the idea that inclusive games can increase health and enjoyment for all. In that activity, you remove hoops from the game, but the players stay. No one is left out of the game and instead the players team up inside the remaining hoops!

A Minds On pre-game discussion helps educators set the stage for each activity. Minds On also includes a set of post-game questions to guide educators through ways to draw out learnings from the participants.

Children learning the alphabet while doing interesting tasks

What’s more, when physical literacy and ethical literacy are developed at the same time, kids gain additional life skills. For example, they strengthen their executive functions, a family of mental processes. Executive functions enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions or rules, see things from a different perspective, respond to novel or unpredictable circumstances, and juggle multiple tasks successfully (Diamond, 2013).

In addition to the resource’s activities, there’s a summary of physical literacy, ethical literacy and LTD in sport and physical activity. Specific connections are made to each within the activities, which align with current Canadian physical and health education curriculums. Every activity includes discussion prompts, assessment tools and special considerations, where applicable.

Gaining the industry’s quality stamp of approval

PHE Canada’s endorsement of The True Sport Experience is an instantly recognizable stamp within the physical and health education sector, certifying and communicating quality. PHE Canada’s endorsement process involved consultation with an advisory team of experienced educators and sector experts from across Canada. That team recognized the resource for its support of quality physical and health education programming and the promotion of healthy learning environments for students.


“I truly believe everyone deserves and should expect a positive sporting experience,” says Grant McManes, a retired educator, True Sport Champion, and a PHE Canada board representative for Manitoba-Nunavut. “Through this resource, educators, coaches and others may set the stage for introducing the True Sport Principles in a fun and interactive way to children as they’re beginning to explore sport. This will allow them to both understand the principles and embody them throughout their daily and sporting experiences.”

Portrait of happy physical education teacher during class at school gym.Educators play an important role in the development of physical and ethical literacy of Canadian children. Physical literacy is a cornerstone of physical education and sport development, but ethical literacy is often an afterthought. Lessons in The True Sport Experience bring ethical literacy development to an equal footing with physical skill development.

By using The True Sport Experience in the classroom, community and beyond, educators can unlock the potential for a lifetime of positive sport and recreation experiences. Their students will be more likely to value physical activity and to seek out and nurture similar experiences throughout their lives. In turn, they could help form a generation of Canadians who recognize that good sport can make a significant difference.

About True Sport

The True Sport Principles define Canada’s commitment to values-based sport. True Sport is an initiative of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport. It gives people, communities and organizations the means to leverage the many benefits of good sport from a platform of shared values and principles. Learn more at

Under the age of 12, Soccer Canada’s Long-Term Player Development (LTPD) model is built around small-sided games. A large body of research has demonstrated the benefits of this approach for players’ skills and confidence. However, little was known about the affects for goalies – until now. A new study has shown that goalies have more opportunities to perform both offensive and defensive actions in 5-a-side soccer, which contributes to their engagement and development on the field.