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Skating 101 - Why Progressions Work

If you think about anything you’ve ever learned how to do, you’ve probably done it in progressions. We learned to crawl, then walk, then run. We learned how to drive in parking lots, slow and steady first. We learned how to add and subtract long ago, that helps us to make a family budget now. The idea is, progressions work. Because for us to jump to the next level of difficulty and be able to do it well, we should have mastered the previous level first.

Every sport, especially skating, uses progressions to help our children become better athletes.

For example, to do a hockey side stop, you first need to be able to make snow. From there, you learn 2 foot snowplows, then 1 foot, then stopping to the side and eventually work up to a side stop. You have to learn what your arms and legs have to do, how much pressure to apply to the ice, and how fast you should go in order to avoid wiping out. If you watch your children in a CanSkate program, they go through all of these progressions, and you’ll also see that as the previous skill is mastered, learning the next skill gets quicker and quicker every time.

Think about any project you’ve ever done. Did you start with the highest level of difficulty even if you had no experience? I wouldn’t think so. I’d think that most of us start out with something easy and work our way up to something more advanced as we build our skills. That’s why the CanSkate program is built into stages; each stage builds on the previous stage and makes sure the skills are mastered correctly before the difficulty level is raised. But this program is not just for figure skaters. 

There’s a misconception that hockey players don’t need a learn-to-skate program. There’s the expectation that our kids will just miraculously learn and perfect skating skills while they’re learning how to shoot, stick handle and pass, but that’s really not the case.

Some of the best hockey skaters in the world started in a CanSkate or Learn to Skate program, and it’s so common now for NHL teams to work with professional Skate Canada Coaches to improve basic skating skills for their athletes; because they recognize that to become a great hockey player, you need to be a great skater too.

So I’ll leave you with something to consider...

A few of our CanSkaters play hockey in Schomberg; they are on stage 4 and 5 in the CanSkate program. Their parents consistently tell us how they skate circles around the rest of their teammates and breeze through all of the drills. So the question is; do you want your child to struggle with the rest of team, or lead the pack?

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