Developmental Age

Developmental Age

Children grow and develop at different rates. Sport and physical activity programs need to take each child’s stage of growth and development into account when designing training, competition and recovery regimens.

To optimize the development of skaters, we cannot paint everyone with the same brush. We need to take into account the individual growth and maturation of skaters, their developmental ages of skaters as well as their chronological ages.

Growth and Maturation

The terms “growth” and “maturation” are often used together, but they mean different things. Growth refers to measurable changes in body size such as height and weight. Maturation refers to qualitative changes in the body’s progress toward maturity, such as the change of cartilage to bone in the skeleton.

Developmental Age

The term development” brings together growth and maturation. Development refers to how growth and maturation occur together over time. It includes physical, social, emotional and intellectual realms of the child.

Speed Skating Canada is committed to ensuring developmentally appropriate programming which takes into account the developmental age of skaters and has begun making program changes to better account for individual differences in managing programs. Specifically SSC has:

  • Established 1 year age categories during the sensitive Training to Train stage of development, with a recommendation that skaters change categories mid-season (January 1st) so that no skater spends the entire season in the bottom of their age category
  • Introduced an age category reclassification process to allow skaters to compete in an older age category when it is developmentally appropriate
  • Recommend that provincial/territorial associations use single distance ability formats and combine age categories when numbers do not allow for meaningful competition within single year age categories.

Learn more about developmental age:

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