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Hannah Dale

on 8 January 2014

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Stage 1: Foundation
The foundation stage is made up of people who are beginners in sport, meaning that it generally contains young children who do not have much experience and will be developing the basic skills and movements.
Stage 3: Performance
This stage is key in developing sport specific skills and improving performance and technique. This requires regular training where a quality coach is essential.
Stage 2: Participation
Stage 4: Excellence
Only a limited number of individuals who begin sport at the foundation stage are able to obtain excellence, which is the peak of the performance pyramid. Performers that reach this stage are elite, top class performers who may take part in international competitions.
The Sports Development Continuum is a model that represents a persons involvement in sport by what stage they are at. It also highlights the route a performer can take to become an elite performer. The model has four stages; foundation, participation, performance, and excellence.
What is it?
This stage tends to happen at school as PE lessons are often the first contact children have with some sports. It is important that basic skills are learned at the foundation stage so that children are able to progress up the performance pyramid.
This stage is where young people begin to participate regularly in a specific activity for enjoyment and when certain sports become more important to them than others.
To develop from the foundation stage to the participation stage players may become part of a team, perhaps for a local club or within a sports festival, and compete against others of a similar ability.
By the time an Athlete reaches the Performance stage they should be competing at a high standard, such as club, county or regional.
Sports clubs become important at this stage as they help link to the next step of development.
At this stage Governing Bodies of sport are responsible for development as players pass from county, to regional, to national squads.
The idea of the performance pyramid is that the greater number of people beginning at the base of the pyramid, the more likely it is a larger number will achieve excellence.
The foundation stage for swimming can vary for different people as many don't learn to swim until they are much older, but generally children will learn to swim from a very young age.
The British Gas Learn To Swim Programme provides the foundation stage of the sports development pyramid for swimmers. It's purpose is to develop early years water confidence, encouraged through sessions such as 'adult and child' and pre-school sessions. At foundation, emphasis is on the development of very basic motor skills with an introduction to water and the
swimming environment through fun and games.
Sponsored by Kellogg's, ASA certificates and
badges are awarded to encourage participation
and reward hard work and improvement. These
include the Duckling Award, Swim A Song Awards
and Alpha Step, which is aimed at those that have
additional needs.
To progress from foundation to participation a swimmer should
have achieved all of the badges and certificates, demonstrating they are capable of progression. They should have the confidence to be able to take part in a teacher lead session without requiring parents to be present, and be able to get into the pool by themselves.
The next development for swimming continues to be run by the British Gas Learn to Swim programme, and is split into 7 stages. These stages take the participants through actions based on developing skills, movement in the water and having fun. This includes safety awareness and skills such as entry to the water, understanding buoyancy and coordinating breathing.

The first interaction that most people have with tennis is within their primary school PE lessons at a very young age. This is the foundation level of tennis that many experience as, although there is no set PE curriculum, it is very often played in schools. At this stage, a modified variation called 'Mini Tennis' may be played, rather than the full game, as an introduction to the sport and to learn the basic skills before progressing to participation level.
Progression from foundation to participation should happen naturally if a player enjoys a particular sport. If a student enjoys their tennis sessions at school then they should join a local club where they will be able to participate regularly in their spare time.
When a player progresses to the participation stage they will play tennis more regularly and continue to learn new skills. Within the club they will take part in coaching sessions with players of a similar age, providing an opportunity to meet new people with the same interests and increasing social skills as well as tennis skills. As the players develop further, the groups may become more divided and based on ability as opposed to age, as some players progress at a faster pace than others. This gives the more advanced players an opportunity to move forward without being held back by those that find it more of a challenge.
Players can begin competing in tennis at any age. When a player first begins competing they will play people of a similar ability to provide a higher chance of enjoyment. Once a player is enjoying and becoming successful in competition they may progress to play for their club. When they reach a more advanced standard and have begun competing regularly, a player may be spotted for their talent. This could result in progression to the performance level of the sports participation pyramid, when a player will advance to county and national level competitions.
Once a swimmer has completed stages 1-7 of the ASA Learn To Swim Framework they are ready to progress to the performance stage of the sports participation pyramid.

This would normally involve joining a local swimming club where you may begin by continuing with the ASA Learn to Swin programme to complete stages 8-10. Stages 8-10 are called the FUNdamental Sports Skills of the British Gas ASA Learn to Swim Pathway. They are discipline specific and build upon the swimming skills learned in stages 1-7. They have been developed with the grass roots programmes of individual sports, so are ideal if participants want to take up competitive swimming, water polo, synchro or diving.

It can take a long time to progress through the performance stage in swimming as it is very competitive and athletes are of a very high standard. You would begin by competing at county level, for example county championships, where you would qualify for regional,; in which you would then compete against the rest of your region that involves the best swimmers of Great Britain.

To progress from performance to elite you should be part of a strongly-based swimming club that have other athletes competing at national and inter-county/regional competitions. The more a club is able to support you with training sessions and extra land based sessions out of the pool the more likely you are to succeed.

World Class Swimming Programme (WCSP) is another swimming programme run by British Gas. It is funded by UK Sport and aims to identify, develop and support talented athletes in winning medals at major sporting events globally, culminating every four years in Olympic and Paralympic Games. To ensure the UK's most talented athletes maximise their chances UK Sport has devised a three level World Class Pathway:
To progress from performance to elite an athlete would usually be selected by England talent squads, which generally happens if you finish in the top ten at a national competition, or if talent pathways sport major improvements in your swimming.
At this stage players will begin to be rated on their performance. Players competing within the performance level are generally graded from 2-4. This is a standard that can be achieved by training 2-3 times a week with a performance/elite group.

Elite level players are graded at level 1 and usually play in national and international competitions. To achieve and maintain this standard the player should receive around 20 hours of training per week. Not a huge amount of people are able to afford the amount of training to reach this level as it is very expensive, at approximately £30 per lesson. Sponsors play a big role in tennis as many players would not be able to fund themselves to achieve the elite level. Despite this, it is considered easier to reach an elite level in tennis than many other sports as you play and rate as an individual, meaning that you are able to progress through competitions and increase your rating without too much pressure on being spotted by a scout. This is different to sports like football, where players heavily rely on being picked out by scouts, meaning that some people may never even get the chance despite their talent.
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