Baseball Canada recently released an illustration showing the path of a player through its program. The graphic, “Covering all bases,” depicts young players progressing through the stages of a long-term player development system which ends with them loving the game of baseball and being a player for life.
André Lachance is Baseball Canada’s operations manager, the head coach of Canada’s national women’s team, and a member of the Canadian Sport for Life leadership team. We spoke with him about the illustration and the importance of physical literacy for baseball participation.
Talk about the reason for developing the “Covering all bases” graphic.
We wanted to demonstrate the ideal path through our programs for players.
The phrase “active for life” is at the centre of the illustration and not by accident, as it is our main objective. Why? Only a very small number of athletes reach the Major Leagues, actually less than 1%, and we sport administrators have a tendency to forget this fact. We will always be proud to see our Canadian athletes reach the highest levels, but we mustn’t forget the other 99% of our members. We want them to stay active all their life and use skills and values acquired from baseball in other sports. Baseball is a sport that offers various life lessons and teaches abilities that can be adapted to future successes in everyday life and in many other jobs, not only on a baseball field.
For instance, we have recently set up a new program, Shaped by our Game, that highlights former baseball players who succeed in their professional lives. Our first article highlights the successes of the well- known attorney Dominic Therrien, former athlete on the national team and former professional player. He represents the perfect example of someone who has learned from his sport and used this to advantage in his professional career.
What is the significance of physical literacy in your programs?
Physical literacy is at the centre of our Rally Cap program that allows thousands of children to learn the foundations of movement through the joy of being on a baseball field. We want to play an important role in our society so they can develop their physical literacy. For several years now this program has brought together thousands of kids and it is our responsibility to ensure they are having fun while developing movement skills.
Who conveys the message to be active for life in your organization?
Most of the speakers convey the same message, that’s how our programs succeed. However, we mustn’t turn a blind eye. There’s still plenty to do on the field so that the coaches, the parents, and the promoters of our sport and all the other sports understand that the important thing is to give children a chance to develop so they will be active for life, while granting them the opportunity to reach their goal in sports.
What would you tell parents so that they can recognize good practices for their kids?
It is important to see that sports do not only focus on the skills that are sport specific but also work on the child’s overall movement skills. For instance, the Rally Cap program and all our other programs for young athletes develop basic skills through Baseball Canada’s activities. Those skills will help them be a good goalkeeper in soccer, or a good quarterback in football, or a good sprinter in track and field; whatever else they choose to do.
Editor’s note: This interview was conducted in French and has been translated.