Virtual/On-Line Coaching Overview

Delivery Guidelines


Skate Canada continuously evolves the coaching practice in support of skater development and to enhance overall sport participation. A recent survey to coaches indicated that virtual/on-line training this past season benefitted the overall fitness growth of skaters and better prepared them for on-ice training demands. While it is a personal decision and in-person coaching continues to be the preferred method, Skate Canada will support virtual/on-line coaching provided it is delivered within the following guidelines.

What is virtual/on-line coaching?

Virtual/on-line coaching is conducted over a video web-based platform – Zoom, FaceTime, Microsoft Teams, etc. It allows skaters to continue training as defined in this document and enjoy the development experience organized by qualified Skate Canada coaches in good standing.

What are some of the benefits?

  • Virtual/on-line coaching allows for qualified Skate Canada coaches in good standing to train their skaters, and possibly other skaters as permitted by their primary coach.
  • Coaches learning from coaches is proven to be very effective and beneficial for professional development. Coaches working with coaches is highly encouraged and supported by Skate Canada.
  • Qualified Skate Canada coaches in good standing may offer virtual/on-line sessions to enhance skater development in a cost-efficient way.

What is an acceptable virtual/on-line coaching session?

A qualified Skate Canada coach in good standing with a minimum of NCCP Regional Coach certification  may offer and/or facilitate virtual/on-line sessions as indicated below. It is also recommended (when possible and applicable) that the primary coach or a member from the coaching team be present in the virtual lesson environment for professional development purposes. The virtual lesson format may include private, semi-private, and group sessions provided the guidelines below are respected and the Rule of Two is always applied.

On-Ice DeliveryOff-Ice Delivery
Discipline specific technical skills: The use of a virtual/on-line coach is encouraged, and this person must be a qualified Skate Canada coach in good standing for the current season.Strength training and conditioning development: The use of a qualified fitness trainer/field relevant expert is permitted for training specific to dryland, core strength and flexibility, plyometrics, mental training, stretch type session, etc.

Performance development: The use of a qualified field relevant expert for acting class, movement class, dance class, etc. is permitted.

Discipline specific technical skills: The use of a virtual/on-line coach is encouraged, and this person must be a qualified Skate Canada coach in good standing for the current season.

Important note for both on and off ice:

Virtual/on-line coaching a CanSkate, CanPowerSkate, or STAR 1-5 program session or even parts of these programs is strictly prohibited.

Creating a safe and healthy training environment:

Virtual/on-line coaching is an acceptable means of training skaters and must be offered in a safe and healthy delivery. Skate Canada also expects that the following rule of two is applied in a virtual/on-line setting per the guidelines written by the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC) and modified for this document.

  • The Rule of Two must apply to all minor skaters in the virtual/on-line environment (additionally, for those skaters, a parent or guardian must be present during the session where possible).
  • For every session, the Rule of Two must require two adult coaches be present, or one adult coach and one adult (parent, guardian, volunteer, club administrator).
  • Parents/guardians must be fully informed beforehand regarding the activities undertaken during the sessions, as well as the process of the virtual/on-line session.
  • Parents/guardians must consent to virtual/on-line sessions prior to each session, if irregularly scheduled, or prior to the first session if there is a series of regularly scheduled sessions.
  • Communication during each session must be in an open and observable environment (i.e., avoid bedrooms) in the skater’s home (skater’s parents’/guardians’ home), and the coach must initiate the session from an appropriate location (i.e., avoid unprofessional settings).
  • It is recommended to record sessions where that capacity exists.
  • Prohibit one-on-one texting, emailing or online contact between coach and skater or coach who has not reached the age of majority  – any texting, emailing or online contact must be limited to group text/email that includes at least two adults (two coaches or one coach and one adult (parent, guardian, volunteer, club administrator), and limited to coaching (non-social) matters, and parents of minor skaters should be provided the opportunity to receive these texts/emails.
  • Direct messaging or private messaging between individuals where one individual is in a position of authority is prohibited.
  • Encourage parents/guardians to debrief with skaters about virtual/on-line training on a weekly basis.
  • In addition, care must also be taken to ensure that appropriate security settings have been set for virtual/on-line, videoconferencing arrangements, including password protected videoconference invitations.

Virtual/on-line coaching terms and conditions:

Virtual/on-line coaching and training will be covered by insurance for the current season per the following terms and conditions.

  • All sessions are to be approved by a Skate Canada club, skating school, or section and offered/facilitated by qualified Skate Canada coaches in good standing for the current season.
  • All skaters participating must be registered with Skate Canada for the current registration period and must be recorded/logged by the coach.
  • Publicly accessible broadcast tools such as Facebook Live, YouTube, etc. and pre-recorded videos are not acceptable methods of delivering virtual/on-line training.
  • Permitted delivery tools must include the use of controlled, multi-screen video conferencing programs such as Skype, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom.
  • Participant and facilitator web cameras must be turned on at all times.
  • All injuries must be reported to Skate Canada within 30 days of the incident and submitted using the Skate Canada Online Incident Report.
  • To help eliminate any perceived solicitation of skaters, it is recommended that clubs or skating schools and coaches who are hosting virtual/on-line sessions obtain the necessary permissions (skater’s parent, skater’s primary coach, etc.) by signed waivers or posted statements on the selected platform.
  • Coaches, clubs or skating schools must maintain the following information before the class:
    • Date and time of the course
    • Instructor and instructor’s remote location, bearing in mind facilities are closed
    • Class Content (activities to be conducted)
    • Number of Participants (ensure all participants are Skate Canada registrants before the start of a session)
    • When a group session is delivered virtually/online, the rule of two must apply on each single computer screen to ensure the number of participants viewed on a single screen is manageable. For safety reasons, we also require no more than four (4) skaters participating in one location. 
    • This information should be kept on file for seven years. Skate Canada may request a copy of the list at any time within those seven years.

If virtual/on-line coaching is desired in a situation other than described in this document, please email your Section, and copy Josée Bourdon, Senior Manager of High Performance Coaching at [email protected]