Active Start

Stage Stats

Stage Start
(Approx age: Age 0)
Stage End
Age 6
(Approx age: Age 6)


During the Active Start stage of the LTAD, children should be developing physical and cognitive skills across a wide variety of activities. Kids should be encouraged to play outdoors in an unstructured environment. Programs at this stage are better not being sport specific and should focus on child development. We do encourage programs that get kids into the natural environment and using various forms of maps. Any orienteering programs in the Active Start stage should be teaching through games as much as possible and should avoid teaching traditional orienteering skills. Having kids participate with their parents at a club event by going around a novice course together is a great way to get kids interested in orienteering and to spend an hour or two outdoors as a family.

Participant Characteristics

A child’s physical, mental, social and other characteristics change so dramatically from 0 to 6 years of age that we have not attempted to describe them here. Working with children in this age range requires specialised knowledge and experience and so we leave this information to those specialists and other resources.


Navigation skills are those skills related to map reading and compass use independent of any physical components related to moving through the terrain. Skills otherwise related to the technical rules of the sport such as checking control codes to confirm you are at the right control are also considered navigation skills in this context. These skills span the complete range from holding a map 'properly' in one hand to micro-optimization of route choices and similar tactical navigational decisions. 

Navigation Skills at the Active Start stage:

  1. Develop familiarity with trails and other prominent features [Terrain and Feature Understanding]
  2. Develop familiarity with maps [Fundamental Orienteering Knowledge and Skills] [Map understanding and interpretation]
  3. Get used to holding maps [Map Holding and Folding] [Fundamental Orienteering Knowledge and Skills]
  4. Learn what we are looking for (i.e. control flags) [Control Flow] [Fundamental Orienteering Knowledge and Skills]
  5. Develop basic familiarity with equipment [Control Flow] [Fundamental Orienteering Knowledge and Skills]
  6. Know how the start, finish, and controls are marked on the map [Fundamental Orienteering Knowledge and Skills] [Map understanding and interpretation]

Running skills are those skills related to running economy or form, including travelling on trails, through various types of terrain, and going over, under, and around various obstacles. Skills developed in early stages such as agility, balance, and coordination are also considered here as they lead directly into more obvious running skills. The physical capacities (endurance, speed, power, etc.) involved in running are not considered here.

No skills at the Active Start stage have been added in the Running Skills domain yet.

The physical and training practices in this domain have been framed in terms of best practices to apply at each of the LTAD stages. Practices include workout types and training frequencies to use at different stages as well as the underlying knowledge and skills required to train as a competitive athlete - tapering, recovery and regeneration, etc. 

Physical and Training Practices at the Active Start stage:

  1. Getting adequate sleep of 11-13 hrs/night plus an afternoon nap [Sleep]
  2. Reducing or eliminating screen time before trying to sleep [Sleep]
  3. Avoiding caffeine intake [Sleep]

Psychological skills are those mental skills related to staying positive, focused, and motived in training and competition. These skills include goal setting, visualization, emotional and distraction control and more.

No skills at the Active Start stage have been added in the Psychological Skills and Practices domain yet.

Life skills are those other skills not directly related to an athlete's training and competition that nonetheless can have a large impact on their performance as well as their overall health and well-being. These skills include a variety of sport-life balance, relationships, travel skills, media savvy, nutrition and hydration, time-management and more. Many people dismiss the importance of life skills, yet they can have an immense impact on an athlete's ability to perform to their capacity. 

No skills at the Active Start stage have been added in the Life Skills and Practices domain yet.