CanSkate is Skate Canada's flagship learn-to-skate program for beginners of all ages that teaches fundamental movements (go forward, go backward, stop, turn, spin and jump) and basic skills. The program is set up in seven stages. The CanSkate program emphasizes fun and continuous movement and is taught in a group lesson format; CanSkate is taught by professional Skate Canada professional coaches and assisted by trained Program Assistants. Awards and incentives are used to motivate skaters to achieve and develop their skills as well as to keep interest high! CanSkate is a feeder program to all other Skate Canada programs.

The final, optional enrichment Stage 7 (pre-preliminary) of the CanSkate program is a transitional stage that serves as a bridge from CanSkate to the Test Program. It introduces many figure skating skills that are included in the Preliminary level tests. Skaters who complete Stage 7 are well on their way to taking their first Skate Canada test.

Objectives of the Program

  • To provide basic skating instruction in a group format.
  • To introduce skaters to the principles of Jumping, "Figure Skating", Speed, Challenge, Performance, Safety.
  • To introduce skaters to the five fundamental movements of Figure Skating.
  • To encourage and identify "Talented Skaters" so that they are fast-tracked through Skate Canada system of training.
  • To promote all skaters through Skate Canada system of training in a seamless manner.

Goals of the CanSkate Program

The CanSkate program:

  • is taught by Skate Canada professional coaches.
  • is assisted by trained Program Assistants as required.
  • keeps the ratio of skaters to coach or program assistant manageable to foster learning and individual attention.
  • ensures continuous movement - skaters should be moving approximately 90% of the time.
  • ensures faster progression from one level to the next. Skaters need to move to the next level as soon as they are ready.
  • teaches fundamental skills - expose skaters to many different skills but require the basics to progress to the next level.
  • incorporates challenge and speed - providing constant challenge to skaters will help improve their skating as well as keep them interested. Talented skaters may also be identified.
  • is fun - a vital part of keeping a skater active in the sport is to provide an interesting variety of activities with lots of awards and incentives, upbeat music and enthusiasm.

How Many Children on the Ice?

The average number of skaters on the ice during a CanSkate program is 60 (this is on a North American sized-arena). The exact number will vary depending on a number of variables: size of club, number of professional coaches, amount of ice time. Our clubs are required to provide at least 10-minutes of teaching to each group of children (generally about 10 children per group). So, if there is 60 minutes of ice time and only one professional coach, 60 skaters would be the maximum for that CanSkate session.

Who can Teach CanSkate?

CanSkate is taught by Skate Canada professional coaches and assisted, as required, by Program Assistants who have been trained by Skate Canada professional coach in the club.

Skate Canada Professional Coaches

Skate Canada professional coaches who teach CanSkate must be a registered Skate Canada professional coaching member, NCCP Level 1 certified or higher and have a valid first aid certificate. They also must be responsible for updating themselves on the CanSkate program (revised September 1, 2014) through either the CanSkate Coaches' Self-Study package or by attending an optional CanSkate Coaches' Update Clinic.

The main role of the Skate Canada professional coach is to:

  • prepare fun, challenging and safe lessons for the appropriate age level.
  • teach skills and teaching progressions.
  • plan skill circuits, drills, exercises, etc.
  • direct the program.
  • group and re-group skaters.
  • train, supervise, assess and evaluate Program Assistants.
  • assess skaters.
  • select music for the program.
  • keep efficient records for the program.
  • ensure the progress of all skaters.
  • plan effective ice usage.
  • organize and lead parent orientation sessions throughout the program season.
  • provide advice on skating matters - i.e. equipment, progression to other programs, etc.
  • act as a CanSkate information source / educator for club members and volunteers.

Program Assistants

The Program Assistant helps deliver the CanSkate program under the direction of Skate Canada professional coach. The role of the Program Assistant will vary from club to club depending upon the number of Skate Canada professional coaches and volunteers involved in the CanSkate program. Program Assistants may perform a wide variety of duties including those outlined below: (For a more complete listing refer to the Guide for Training Program Assistants, contained in the CanSkate Coaches' Manual).

  • demonstrate skills and teaching progressions.
  • supervise practice time.
  • lead warm-ups and cool-downs under the direction of the coach.
  • reinforce learned skills (follow-up on coach instruction).
  • lead exercises, drills, games, creative expression exercises under coach's direction.
  • hand out awards and weekly incentives.
  • take attendance.
  • assist with circuits.


Frequently Asked Questions

© , Club de patinage artistique de Dorval – Dorval Figure Skating Club.