Speed Skating Canada


Whether it’s to stay fit or to reach the highest level, we’re committed to providing a fun and positive sport experience for skaters of all ages and abilities. Learn more about our initiatives to help athletes develop solid technical skills, physical fitness, and a lifelong love of skating.


Skating is a truly Canadian pastime and a lifelong skill that helps develop and improve one’s fitness, balance, coordination, endurance, strength, and agility. Whether you become a recreational or competitive skater, and participate in speed skating, in-line, hockey, figure skating or ringette, nothing beats the thrill of gliding across the ice on your own power.


Speed Skating Canada’s Learn to Skate program provides coaches and recreational program leaders with a series of sequential learn-to-skate activities through a 20-lesson curriculum. Its goal is to teach children basic on-ice skills and skating techniques to prepare them for participation in organized sports, including speed skating programs.

The Learn to Skate curriculum teaches skills through games and other challenging activities to help capture the attention of participants. If the kids are moving, laughing and having fun, then the coach is helping them learn to skate!

Download Learn to Skate resources

Our Learn to Speed Skate program was designed for use by speed skating clubs and can be adapted to accommodate a variety of ages and abilities. The 40-lesson curriculum introduces speed skating specific skills and techniques to skaters, allowing them to progress in club-level programming and eventually participate in competitions.

The Learn to Speed Skate curriculum emphasizes fitness, speed skating skills, social interaction and fun. Beginner speed skaters learn the basic principles of the sport to build a solid foundation for future success and, most importantly, begin to develop a love for speed skating.

Download Learn to Speed Skate resources

Skating is a lifelong skill that improves balance, coordination, endurance, strength and agility. Schools that introduce a skating program open the doors for students to participate in organized sports such as speed skating, hockey, figure skating, and ringette.

The On the Edge school program is designed to create an awareness of the sport of speed skating and to assist physical education teachers with the instruction of skating technique. Through a series of twelve engaging and unique on-ice lessons, plus additional in-class elements to support learning, the program offers speed skating activities and exercises that follow a teaching progression and encourage overall fitness development.

Download the On the Edge curriculum

A nation-wide network of over 150 speed skating clubs helps to develop skaters of all ages and abilities. With clubs in every province and territory, all Canadians can all experience the thrill of racing on ice. To give speed skating a try and access our learn to skate programs, use our Find a Club tool to locate a club near you.

Visit our Find a Club tool

Long Term Athlete Development

This is a guiding model will be invaluable to skaters, parents, coaches, and administrators helping to ensure that the quantity, quality, and delivery of training are appropriate for the developmental stages of the participants, including their social, intellectual, and emotional needs.

Download Speed Skating Canada’s Long Term Athlete Development model


Building positive relationships between participants and coaches, will establish comfort and enjoyment within the skating environment. Creating a strong social atmosphere is critical to membership retention. To put this simply, if the participants enjoy training and competitions, on account of the relationships and fun they had together, they will want to return to the sport. By making the social aspect of sport a core feature of training and competition, we will develop a stronger social environment and promote greater membership retention.


All training, competitive, and recovery programs should consider the mental, cognitive, and emotional development of each skater. Along with the physical, technical, and tactical development, speed skating requires a considerable number of decision-making skills as well as strategies. Structuring a program to develop the mental, cognitive, and emotional facets is a must.


Physical training for athletes must take into consideration the sensitive periods of development.

  • Stamina (Endurance): The optimal window of trainability occurs at the onset of PHV. Aerobic capacity training is recommended before skaters reach PHV. Aerobic power should be introduced progressively after the growth rate decelerates.
  • Strength: The optimal window of trainability for girls is immediately after PHV or at the onset of menarche, while for boys it is 12 to 18 months after PHV.
  • Speed: For boys, the first speed training window occurs between the ages of 7 and 9 years and the second window occurs between the ages of 13 to 16. For girls, the first speed training window occurs between the ages of 6 and 8 years and the second window occurs between the ages of 11 and 13 years.
  • Skill: The window of optimal skill training for boys takes place between the ages of 9 and 12 and between the ages of 8 and 11 for girls
  • Suppleness (Flexibility): The optimal window of trainability for suppleness in both girls and boys occurs between the ages of 6 and 10 years old. Special attention should be paid to flexibility during PHV.

Training vs Competition

Training and competition are the primary two avenues in which athletes work with a coach and group to develop their skill set to improve. Therefore, it is important to recognize these two domains and the differences which separate them.

While competition is typically the highlighted portion of the sport, training is in fact where participants spend the majority of their time engaging in sport. Elite athletes, for example, will train upwards of 260 days of the year and race 40 days of the year.

Competition calendar planning at all stages is critical to skater development. During earlier stages, developing physical capacities take precedence over competition. Throughout the later stages, the ability to compete well becomes the focus.

Stages of Development

Club Skater (Ages 0-6)

Socialization, interaction, and fun should be the highest priority at this stage of development. Engaging skaters to have a positive experience in a welcoming and caring social environment is vital to the retention of these young participants.


Before athletes develop a passion for their sport, they form an emotional association with physical activity. The goal in the Active Start stage is for young children to rack up positive experiences within sports activity.


Make activity FUN and part of the child’s daily routine activity and movement skills development. Focus on developing locomotor, object manipulation and balance skills on land, water, ice/snow and in the air in a variety of movements.

Club Skater (Ages 6-9)

At the fundamentals level, the objective is to build a supportive, interactive, positive, and welcoming training environment. If you can succeed at engaging these young participants, they will want to return and continue within the sport.


Children can learn and explore different movements and skills through structured activities and participation in unstructured play. Their self-esteem starts developing at this stage and can be further nurtured by reinforcing their effort, creativity, enjoyment, and learning. Additionally, children start developing a level of self-awareness in the way they perceive, think, feel and act. At this stage, basic concepts of ethics in sports (sportsmanship, fair play, teamwork) and rules of a game can be introduced. This helps with the development of decision-making, behavioural, and social skills.


The focus of this stage is on critical skill and speed skating literacy. Involvement in more than one sport should be promoted.

  • Speed, power, and endurance through fun and games
  • Introduction to core stability through fun and games
  • General overall athleticism through programs introducing the:
    • ABC’s of athleticism (agility, balance, coordination, speed)
    • RJT’s (run, jump, throw)
    • KGB’s (kinesthesia, gliding, buoyancy, striking with implements)
    • CK’s (catching, kicking with body parts)
Club/Youth (Ages 8-12)

As our participants mature and enter the Learn to Train stage, we begin to see the depth of the social domain expand into new areas. One such area is the recognition and founding of a sense of belonging to a team amongst their peers. This sense of belonging identifies the participants with their sport, and in this case they begin to identify themselves as speed skaters to their friends and family.


During this stage, athletes develop foundational skills that lead to success in sport. They are introduced to foundational mental fitness concepts that complement their physical development and enhance their learning experience and self-awareness. Mental skills are introduced and taught on a basic level, and opportunities for testing out the new skills in training and performance settings are provided.

  • Introduction to mental preparation
  • Understanding of the role of practice
  • Perseverance
  • Confidence
  • Concentration
  • Achieve success and receive positive reinforcement

Continued involvement in multi-sports should be promoted. The focus of this stage is on critical skill and speed skating literacy. Further development of all fundamental movement skills is critical during this stage of development. If missed, a significant window of opportunity is lost which will compromise the ability of the young skater to reach their full potential.

Youth/Junior (Ages 11-16)

Skater retention through the Train to Train category is often the most challenging, as competing interests from other sports, educational pursuits, and outside social groups, draw athletes’ attention away from skating. Creating a strong social atmosphere in your program that facilitates a sense of belonging that will go a long way in maintaining the interest of these skaters and hopefully reduce the rate of participant decline.


The focus needs to be on learning, applying, testing, and refining the physical, technical, tactical, and mental skills/strategies, as well as how to use them in competitive settings. To help athletes learn to cope with physical and mental challenges in competition, a comprehensive mental training program should be introduced at this stage.


The focus of this stage is on physical development or “building the engine”, and on consolidating sport specific skills. It should be noted that both the aerobic and strength trainability are dependent on the maturation levels of the skater. For this reason, the timing of training emphasis differs depending on whether skaters are early, average, or late matures.

Junior/Senior (Ages 15-21)

The social consideration for this development stage is again critical as the challenge and stress of racing can often overshadow the fun and relationship building that comes as a result of training and competitions. By structuring our training sessions and competitions to be inviting for participants, and a place for them to engage with each other and socialize with their peers, we will motivate them to return.


During the Train to Compete stage, athletes become more sport-, event-, and position-specific within their training regime. The brain is more developed, and critical thinking has become more established. Advanced mental preparation strategies are incorporated and focus on mental skills needed for competition and quality training increases.


The focus of this stage is on continued physical development “Optimizing the Engine”, and on competitive development. Although the focus of competition is implemented in this stage, physical development remains an important focus.

Senior (21+)

Building a strong team environment to divert attention from an adversarial perspective of sport is important to building a healthy and socially connected training group. Encouraging athletes to unite and work together to achieve their common goal, rather than compete against each other will strengthen their relationships as they push forward and challenge each other in a positive manner. Creating a supportive team environment within the group by which the success of one skater is the success of the team can build positivity within the team. Outside of the training environment you should promote and support social networking outside of sport. Athletes often need to escape the constant demands and pressure of sport. By fostering social relationships with others outside of sport, be it at work or in educational pursuits, athletes can gain a healthy life balance. These social networks outside of the skating community can also provide emotional support for our athletes.


During the Train to Win stage, athletes develop much greater self-awareness of the competition routines and mental strategies that work for them individually. The Train to Win stage focuses on refining the mental skills more closely related to performance outcomes and achieving personal performance bests. In addition, academic, financial, and relationship demands may be more prevalent, so athletes should continue to develop strategies to maintain a healthy sport-life balance. Finally, athletes at this stage can start to think about a plan for “retirement” from competing at the highest level. At some point during this stage, athletes are encouraged to think proactively about life after competitive sport and begin working on a transition plan.


The focus of these stages is on performance development – “Maximizing the Engine”. All of the skaters’ physical, technical, tactical (including decision making skills), mental, and personal and lifestyle capacities are fully established. The focus of training has shifted from “Learning to Win” to podium performances. There will be a division between high performance and development/recreation skaters at this stage of development. Although there are these two streams, all skaters are training to win.


Courses and Workshops

Athletes are encouraged to complete online e-learning modules and courses to help them become better equipped off the ice and to ensure that they can contribute to a safe and inclusive environment within our sport.


This e-learning module on Safe Sport, developed by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC), will help anyone involved in sport learn key information to promote physical, psychological and social health.

This course is highly recommended for all levels of skaters and their parents. You will need an NCCP number – which can be created for free through The Locker – to access this module.

Complete Safe Sport Training

This e-learning module on concussion awareness, developed by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC), will help you gain the knowledge and skills required to ensure the safety of all participants, including yourself.

This course is highly recommended for all levels of skaters and their parents. You will need an NCCP number – which can be created for free through The Locker – to access this module.

Complete Making Head Way in Speed Skating

This e-learning module, developed by the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), addresses ethical sport, supplements, and various other components of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP).

This course is highly recommended for skaters competing at the provincial and national levels. Athletes can complete a free untracked version of the course, which will provide you with a certificate of completion.

Complete True Sport Clean 101


We have various programs in place to recognize the incredible accomplishments of Canadian speed skaters, who demonstrate an unmatched passion for our sport, work hard both on and off the ice to achieve their goals, and strive to inspire those around them.


Speed Skating Canada has two annual awards that are given out to deserving athletes nominated by members of our speed skating community.

  • The Athlete of the Year awards in Short Track and Long Track recognize athletes who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to success during the season through outstanding performance at national or international competitions, dedication to the training program, continued growth in physical and technical abilities, and contributions to sport or community development.
  • The Athlete Impact Award for Community Champion of the Year recognizes an athlete whose impact on their community positively influences those around them both on and off ice. Established in 2022, this award recognizes an athlete’s contributions to sport and the broader community, in alignment with Speed Skating Canada’s values.
  • The Peter Williamson Memorial Bursary awards two bursaries of $1,500 each to National Team or Development Team speed skaters who best combine athletic and scholastic achievements.
Learn more about SSC Athlete Awards

For over 20 years, athletes across Canada have benefited from the Cutting Edge Pin Program, which focuses on testing the skills and abilities of a skater, in a fun and non-competitive environment.

The Cutting Edge program teaches skaters the proper skills that will help them to develop first as a skater, second as a speed skater, and finally as a champion. Successful completion of the program will provide young athletes with the necessary skills for high performance development.

Cutting Edge pins are handed out based on the completion of specific skills, which are tracked using Report Cards.

Access the Cutting Edge report cards


Level 1 White
Level 2 Yellow
Level 3 Orange
Level 4 Red
Level 5 Purple
Level 6 Blue
Level 7 Green
Level 8 Black
Level 9 Bronze
Level 10 Silver
Level 11 Gold

Other Resources


Canadian speed skaters can access relevant and up-to-date documents and tools through our Resource Library, which includes:

  • LTPAD Model
  • Skater Development Resources
  • Athlete Development Research
  • Red Book
  • Equipment Required


Athletes can also access a variety of speed skating videos on our YouTube channel, including competition footage, National Team profiles and the Up to Speed series, which provides tips on how to master technical skills. You’ll also find educational videos listed on our channel from partners such as the International Skating Union.

Safe Sport

Speed Skating Canada is committed to fostering a safe and inclusive environment — one free of abuse, harassment, neglect or discrimination, both on and off the ice — for athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and administrators at all levels of our sport.


If you are looking for a resource that is not available in the Resource Library, or if you have questions about speed skating or athlete development, please reach out to us.