Emerging athletes from around Central Alberta have been able to gain an edge on the competition for years now through the Alberta Sports Development Centre in Red Deer.
The Athlete Enhancement Program provides a variety of services which may include mental skills training, nutrition, fitness testing, injury prevention along with strength and conditioning.
“Basically we are offering things outside of what they might be getting when they show up for practice,” said Miles Kydd, executive director of ASDC in Red Deer.
Each year two groups of athletes are taken in with one session starting in the fall and the second beginning in February lasting until May.
This fall session has 23 athletes registered and the sports they come from include softball, kayaking, swimming, curling and golf to name a few.
Kydd, who has basically just arrived on the Red Deer scene taking over from Mike Klass, said he’s looking to change things up a bit as he gets comfortable in the position.
“You know, what can we do better, maybe do something different? We’ve had a lot of kids spend several years in the program so they’re hearing the mental skills thing again,” he said. “Maybe we need to find another stream for them.”
The resources for the sessions are conducted by local people who have the expertise to speak on the topic.
“If we don’t have somebody, we’ll bring somebody in,” said Kydd.
Access to the program is gained by the athlete first signing up for the sessions and then having a testimony from their coach saying this is where they are and they’re considered one of the top athletes in their sport in the region, he said.
This program is at the core of what ASDC does and there have been some very good athletes who have been a part of it.
Kydd added some attend every session in order to gain the maximum benefit while others pick and choose. It’s an issue the ASDC is hoping to address at some point in time.
“We basically want to make it something where they go, I can’t miss this. I have to be there.”
He’s not sure what form this might take but he realizes these young men and women have plenty of conflicts in their schedules these days so it’s a work in progress of sorts.
Application deadline for the program is Jan. 12th.