As part of the East Gwillimbury SC CanSkate program, all skaters are invited to attend weekly off-ice training sessions. Now in the second year of this program, they have been able to work with kids on basic physical literacy concepts, give skaters an understanding of the importance of off ice training and add value to their program!
We had the opportunity to talk to Lianne Sherriff (Program Coordinator, EGSC)and to answer some questions about how it all works.
Skate Ontario: How often do these off ice classes run?
Lianne Sherriff: The CanSkate off-ice program at the East Gwillimbury Skating Club is a fun, active, 30-minute weekly class.
Skate Ontario: What is an example of a typical class?
Lianne Sherriff: A variety of activities are included to develop the children’s agility, coordination, balance, speed and flexibility as a base for their on-ice lessons and the demands of skating. Activities include; running, jumping, skipping, rolling, somersaults, cartwheels, bouncing and catching balls, splits, spirals and dynamic stretches.
Our instructor uses music, teaching aids (ie. beanie babies, hoola hoops, mats, balls, windmills, skipping ropes, bowling pins) and games to keep the classes interactive and fun.
Skate Ontario: Who teaches the classes at your club?
Lianne Sherriff: The off-ice class is led by a local athletic therapist who also provides the fitness portion of our StarSkate off ice training. We also have a program assistant join the class to act as a motivating guide, mentor, and demonstrator.
Skate Ontario: Why do you feel off ice is important for CanSkate skaters?
Lianne Sherriff: This program introduces the concept of an off-ice class which gives participants a good foundation as they continue to move into figure skating or other sports.
It functions as a warmup for their on-ice session and focuses on developing the LTAD “windows of trainability” of flexibility and speed.
From a practical perspective, parents who have kids in CanSkate and CanSkate (PreCanSkate modified delievery option) can watch their little ones while their CanSkate skater is busy training off the ice.
Skate Ontario: Any other information you would like to add?
Lianne Sherriff: Our town allows us to use an empty room for free, as long as there are no rentals booked. We offer our class once per week on a night that CanSkate happens. All CanSkaters are invited and welcomed to join this class even if they skate on a different day. We include the cost of the instructor in the CanSkate fee and it adds up to be less than $2.00 per CanSkate skater.
We started small (10 skaters) and we now have 15-20 participants each week. As we gain more experience with the classes, we may add additional classes and have parent volunteers or more program assistants help our wonderful instructor.
⭐The East Gwillimbury Skating Club has achieved Advanced Standard in the CanSkate Excellence recognition program.
To find out more about the CanSkate Excellence recognition program, or catch up on our highlighted clubs, visit our CanSkate Excellence page.