Speed Skating

The roots of ice skating date back over 1,000 years to the frozen canals and waterways of Scandinavia and the Netherlands when men laced animal bones to their footwear and glided across frozen lakes and rivers. Canada's first recorded ice-skating race took place on the St. Lawrence River in 1854 when three British army officers raced from Montréal to Québec City. Today, Canada is an international force in the sport of speed skating.

Along with teamwork, speed skating teaches participants fundamental movement skills, fundamental sport skills and the ABCs – agility, balance, coordination and speed – of physical literacy.

Speed skating’s Long-Term Participant and Athlete Development (LTPAD) model consists of eight stages.

  • FUNdamentals (M 6-9, F 6-8) – Develops and builds fundamental movement skills.
  • Learn to Train (M 9-12, F 8-11) – Introduces fundamental sport skills, including speed skating skills.
  • Train to Train (M 12-16, F 11-15) – Builds “the engine” and further develops sport specific skills.
  • Learn to Compete (M 16-18+/-, F 15-17+/-) – Optimizes the engine as well as speed skating-specific skills and fitness.
  • Train to Compete (M 18-21+/-, F 17-21+/-) – Consolidates skills and fitness, with a focus on competitive development.
  • Learn to Win (M, F 21-23+/- Short track; M, F 21-25+/- Long Track) – Maximizes the engine by ensuring all skills and capacities are fully established and geared toward high performance competition.
  • Train to Win (M, F 23+ Short track; M, F 25+ Long Track) – Produces podium performances at the highest levels of competition.
  • Active for Life (M, F all ages) – Encourages individuals to remain active and involved in the sport, either competitively or recreationally, for life.

Find Your Edge: Speed Skating Canada’s LTAD Plan
Provides a general overview of Speed Skating Canada’s LTAD model by outlining key stages and factors that influence athlete development.

Racing on Skates: Competition and Events System Review
Details the guiding principles and developmental foundation on which speed skating competitions and events in Canada should be based in order to ensure developmentally appropriate programming at each stage.

A Parent’s Guide to Speed Skating
This material provides general information about the sport of speed skating.

The Canada East/ West Short Track Championships represent a natural progression for athletes within the Train to Train stage of development and feature developmentally appropriate programs. These regional championship competitions were introduced in 2011 to replace existing age class championships.

Specific LTPAD Compliant Competition Regulations
In 2010-2011, new activities and distances as well as a new track were introduced to align Speed Skating Canada’s Principles for Competition and Events. Competitive events, developmental objectives and racing distances have been adjusted to now match the sensitive periods of trainability.

100m track – A 100m track was introduced for all skaters through Train to Train competitions.  Its tighter radius and shorter straights reinforces skill development by requiring a greater level of precision from skaters, enabling them to match technique patterns that resemble higher-level skaters at an earlier stage of development.

200m pursuit – Initially introduced as a 100m pursuit and increased to a 200m pursuit, this event emphasizes the development of maximum speed and measures performance purely against the clock. This distance is encouraged in all age categories, but is a featured in event for participants in the Train to Train stage of development.

400m – The 500m was replaced with the 400m in the Train to Train stage of development to provide a distance that would place a greater emphasis on speed while producing less lactate.

3000m Points Race – Targeted for skaters in the Train to Train and Learn to Compete stages of development, this event aims to reinforce skaters’ tactical development by providing regular sprints. It also reinforces the development of aerobic power – a determining factor in athlete performance in both short and long track speed skating.

10 minute, two person relay – This event was introduced to reinforce the development of aerobic capacity and enhance both relay and teamwork skills. The weakest and strongest skaters in the event are paired together to create a close race between all teams. The total number of laps skated determines the winner.

Skill-Based Events – Competitive events are defined by SSC recommendations with most programs using a combination of age categories and ability (based on skaters’ personal bests) event formats to determine skater groupings and stage.  These events aim to be both fun and reinforce skill development.  Examples can be found on SSC’s You Tube Channel at:  http://www.youtube.com/user/SpeedSkatingCanada

SSC manages an Age Category Reclassification system that allows early developing athletes to be reclassified into a different age category that better aligns with the individual’s stage of development. 

The Cutting Edge Skills Program aligns with the FUNdamentals, Learn to Train and Train to Train stages of development.

Speed Skating Canada – speedskating.ca