Skater Development

The LTPAD Model

Speed Skating Canada is committed to the holistic, developmentally appropriate development of skaters and helping each individual participant achieve his or her own level of excellence. Skaters need to be exposed to be doing the right thing, in the right way at the right time in their development. Speed Skating Canada describes this development through its Long Term Participant and Athlete Development (LTPAD) model. A model which specifically adapts the principles behind the Canadian Sport for Life Movement and Long Term Athlete Development laying a path for athlete development for all sports in Canada.

Science, research and decades of experience all point to the same thing: kids and adults will get active, stay active, and even reach the greatest heights of sport achievement if they do the right things at the right times.

SSC’s Long Term Participant and Athlete Development Model has 9 stages:

Learn more about LTPAD

Speed Skating Canada(SSC) has a history of excellence and is regarded among Canada’s premier winter sports. To build and continue on this tradition of excellence, SSC has recognized the need to take the next step in maximizing the development of its members. SSC’s Long Term Participant and Athlete Development Model (LTPAD) is a guide to ensure that every participant has the best learning environment possible at every stage of development to achieve their full potential in speed skating. The model defines the best learning participation environment at each stage of development by taking into account physical, mental, cognitive and emotional factors.

The model:

  • is based on the Canadian Sport for Life model, a multi-sport model developed for all Canadians in all sports,
  • is based on the sport participant’s developmental age and not their chronological age recognizing that children are not miniature adults and do not all develop at the same speed
  • acknowledges everyone progresses through the stages of development and training objectives at their own rhythm
  • is athlete centered, coach driven and supported by administrators, officials and financial partners
  • is intended to assist athletes, parents, coaches, officials and sport administrators to make informed decisions about athlete development
  • allows for everyone to participate to the full extent of their abilities
  • recognizes competitions must be adapted to the stage of development of the participants

Shortcomings & Consequences

When the Canadian Sport for Life Resource Paper was published a series of shortcoming and consequences for optimal development were identified. The LTPAD model and subsequent program reviews conducted by SSC, including the recommendations of Racing on Skates, the report of SSC's Competition and Events System Review team have taken direct aim at these issues, while much progress has been made many of these challenges persist within speed skating and the Canadian sport system.


  • Developmental athletes over-compete and under-train
  • Adult training and competition programs are imposed on developing athletes
  • Training methods and competition programs designed for male athletes are imposed on female athletes
  • Preparation is geared to the short-term outcome and winning and not on the process
  • Chronological rather than developmental age is used in training and competition planning
  • Coaches largely neglect the critical periods of accelerated adaptation to training
  • Fundamental movement skills and sport skills are not taught properly
  • The most knowledgeable coaches work at the elite level; limted training and less experienced/knowledgeable coaches at the developmental level where quality trained coaches are essential
  • Parents are not educated about LTAD
  • Developmental training needs of athletes with a disability are not well understood
  • In most sports, the competition system interferes with athlete development
  • There is no talent identification (TID) system
  • There is no integration between physical education programs in the schools, recreational community programs, and elite competitive programs
  • Sports specialize too early in an attempt to attract and retain participants


  • Failure to reach optimal performance levels in international competitions
  • Poor movement abilities
  • Lack of proper fitness
  • Poor skill development
  • Bad habits developed from over-competition focused on winning
  • Undeveloped and unrefined skills due to under-training
  • Female athlete potential not reached due to inappropriate programs
  • Children not having fun as they play adult-based programs
  • No systematic development of the next generation of successful international athletes
  • Athletes pulled in different directions by school, club, and provincial teams because of the structure of competition programs
  • Remedial programs, implemented by provincial and national team coaches, to counteract the shortcomings of athlete preparation
  • Fluctuating national performance due to lack of TID and developmental pathway
  • Athletes failing to reach their genetic potential and optimal performance level

The contents of this page were prepared using information from SSC's Racing on Skates and Find Your Edge document as well as resources from Canadian Sport for Life. To learn more about the Active Start stage of development and Physical Literacy visit and

Implementation of the LTPAD Model in Speed Skating Canada - Assessment

The aim of this report is to provide a ‘snap shot’ of what is happening at the provincial/territorial level to inform SSC on how LTPAD recommendations are actually being implemented and assist in the planning/prioritization of future actions to be undertaken by SSC. Check out the report >

Speed Skating Canada is committed to the holistic, developmentally appropriate development of skaters and helping each individual participant achieve his or her own level of excellence.