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2012/02 - CanSkate Communication 1

Over the past few years Skate Canada has continued working towards implementing Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) philosophies into Skate Canada programming. It is an exciting time as we take our first steps towards making these philosophies a reality in our sport and making improvements to our programs that will benefit all our skaters.

Reflecting the work done by the LTAD Learn to Skate stage working group and feedback provided by coaches and other stakeholders over the last three seasons, as well as concept and pilot testing done from January 2010 to present, the revised CanSkate curriculum is in its final stages of completion.

Soft launch – what does that mean?

The revised CanSkate program will be soft-launched starting September 2012. However clubs will have two years to implement the new program. Each club and their coaching staff will need to evaluate their readiness to implement the revised CanSkate curriculum and build an implementation plan based on their requirements e.g. the club may have existing CanSkate supplies that they may wish to use up before starting the new program.

Deadline for implementation

By September 2014, all coaches who teach CanSkate must be trained via the CanSkate online update module and all clubs offering CanSkate must operate the new program.

NOTE: All coaches teaching CanSkate must have completed the CanSkate online update module prior to their club’s implementation.

Coach training

The CanSkate online update module is scheduled to be available by September 2012. The module will consist of learning material and an evaluation pertaining to the planning and key principles of on and off-ice program execution and is designed to educate coaches on the pertinent information they will need to run the revised program. Coaches are expected to thoroughly review the new CanSkate manual to completely familiarize themselves with the new CanSkate curriculum prior to implementing the program at their club.

Program overview

The revised CanSkate program consists of:

  • Stage 1 to 6 badges (same badges as current)
  • The current fundamental movements plus four new components - Speed, Extreme, Spins & Spirals, Hockey/Ringette - have been reconfigured into three fundamental areas called Balance, Control and Agility (the ABCs of skating!):
    • Balance: Skate Forward, forward moving Extreme, Speed, Spins & Spirals and Hockey/Ringette skills
    • Control: Stop, Skate Backward, backward moving Extreme, Spins & Spirals and Hockey/Ringette skills
    • Agility: Turn, Jump, turn and jumping skills from Extreme, Spins & Spirals and Hockey/Ringette

Delivery concepts

When revisions were made in 1998, we recommended and emphasized various delivery concepts including dividing skills into fundamental movements, using circuits and stations to teach skills, the fast track to explore stride, music and teaching aids to add fun and variety. We are now taking a more deliberate approach to engrain these same concepts as well as emphasize a more effective way to teach and deliver the program for better results, stronger skaters and long-term member retention.

Technical changes

Here is a summary of the technical changes we are making:

  • More emphasis on speed and flexibility - In accordance with LTAD philosophies it is important to build in components that address the development of speed and flexibility in a more concrete way. Speed will be more of a focus with features such as the fast track and specific speed-related drills. Activities highlighting flexibility will be incorporated into the sessions to ensure appropriate development of this skill.
  • Earlier introduction of edges, turns and stroking basics - Upon reviewing the program it was determined that these basic skills which are the foundation of quality skating should be given more emphasis. Therefore, more focus will be placed on edges, turns, strong pushes and glides. Sport specific skills will be introduced later in the program.
  • Emphasis on skill progression and repetition - Better skill progressions will be reinforced as the skaters develop skills. Skills will be repeated at various stages throughout the program with gradually increasing performance requirements.
  • Learn-to-skate for all - In addition to ensuring CanSkate meets LTAD principles we want to ensure that CanSkate provides the opportunity for clubs to reach all prospective clientele including hockey, ringette and speed skaters in their community who are looking for a quality generic learn-to-skate program.


Additional awards in the form of ribbons which correspond to the new fundamental areas have been added to provide skill benchmarks and help motivate skaters. Once a skater achieves Balance 1, Control 1 and Agility 1 ribbons, they are awarded the Stage 1 badge, and so on with Stages 2 through 6.

What will a new CanSkate session look like?

We are very excited with the changes that are happening on the ice. With the colorful teaching aids, signage, circuits, station rotation, fast track, fun zone and upbeat music, there is a great deal more movement, action and fun! If your club has already adopted these concepts then you are that much more ahead of the game. Our pilot clubs, coaches and parents are also noticing remarkable progress in basic skating abilities and speed as well as a decrease in skater absenteeism and an increase in CanSkate membership.

More to come

Stay tuned for more information - watch for further e-mail blast in which we will include detailed explanations of the new concepts as well as photos and video clips to help your club and coaches prepare for this exciting change to Canada's learn to skate program, CanSkate.

Talk to you soon!

The Coaching and Skating Programs team

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