If you want your child to get the right introduction to speed skating, learn proper skills, and have the kind of positive experience that make them love to skate, look for a local skating club or recreation program that follows Speed Skating Canada’s recommendations for each age.
Following the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model, Speed Skating Canada has developed specific guidelines for children’s skating at the elementary school age levels:
Active start (children aged 0-6)
At this general stage of child development, the most important goal is to learn basic movement skills such as running, jumping, skipping, and throwing. Basic skating skills fall into that category as well. Your child will not learn “speed skating” during Active Start. However, in the latter part of this stage, your child can start to learn basic skating skills through a Learn to Skate program at your local recreation centre or speed skating club.
FUNdamentals (females aged 6-8, males aged 6-9)
At this stage, your child should participate in a variety of sports and physical activities. In a club-based skating program, young skaters will get experience skating on normal sheets of ice and racing tracks. Games and fun races are incorporated into practices to make them fun. Competitive racing is introduced during this stage through intra-club mini-meets.
Learn to train (females agd 8-11, males aged 9-12)
The Learn to Train stage continues to focus on skill development and fun. Your child should begin skating on long blades while practising on both long and short tracks. Skaters should be encouraged to participate in more formal local and regional competition at this point.
You can learn more about quality speed skating programs at Canadian Sport for Life.