San Diego Figure Skating Communications
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Advanced Training Plans
Focus Points of a successful Training Plan
There are four main focus points of any successful training plan: heredity, personality, persistence, and quality of training. These inputs play an active role in five training stages that should occur during a training season.
Each sport has different competitive seasons depending on the geographic location and the sponsoring organization such as a public school, college or university, or a national sports association. Obviously there are vast differences between summer and winter sports. Some sports like gymnastic, basketball, and swimming may be indoor sports during our winter month, but are included in the Summer Olympics.
The actual start of each ice skating training season has changed with the construction of indoor all year artificial ice rinks in many communities throughout the world. Ice sports competitions and training, except for skiing, are taking place on artificial frozen ice surfaces installed in enclosed, temperature controlled buildings.
The level of the skater and the date of their final competition determines the start of each training year for speed, hockey, and figure skater. For example - The younger skaters, entered in the regional qualifying competitions in the fall, will train almost year round. The regional championship in the fall may be the end of their season unless they qualify to go on to skate at the sectional competitions held a few weeks later. However, if they do not place, they will generally start preparing to move up to the next competitive level which requires passing the required MITF and free skating test for single and pair skaters. Dancers are required to pass MITF, Compulsory dances, and free dance tests.
A few skaters will qualify to skate at the US National Championships which are held after the first of the year. The exact date on nationals depends on if there is a Winter Olympics, which will cause the championships to be held a few weeks earlier than usual.
For a few select skaters, who are selected for the World Team, the Worlds Championships are scheduled after the Winter Olympics. Sometimes a member of the Winter Olympic figure skating team decides not to skate in the World Championships, thus allowing an alternate to skate and gain experience for the next season.
Planning a Training Program
Any good plan starts by first conducting an analysis of any previous training program. There is no sense reinventing the wheel. The following suggestions may require tweaking to apply to specific concerns and requirements considered necessary to be successful in that sport:
List the strengths and weakness of the training program. Supporting comments.
What parts should be kept and what should be changed? List supporting reasons.
Are there areas in the program that are inadequate or missing?
What wouldn't you repeat? List supporting reasons.
What can be done to enhance the training program to the benefit of the athlete? Does the schedule of activities need to be increased or modified in any way? List supporting reasons.
Anticipation of potential problems allows for developing a solution without the pressure of urgency. List what might prevent achieving the short and long term objectives?
Does the training/support system's and instructors need to be changed?
Analyze the athlete's strengths and weaknesses. Start by identifying what the ideal attributes (e.g. body build, strength, endurance, speed, flexibility etc.) are for a figure skater. The next step is to compare the athlete to the ideal athlete using a "gap analysis" of strengths and weaknesses.
A plan to address the gaps may require a long term plan (4-8 years) and a short term plan for the current competitive season. These two plans allow skater and coach to set a realistic training schedule to address the gaps.
A typical Training Program for Advanced SkatersA training year can be divided into five stages or phases. There are different proponents of the concept of varying the content, volume, and intensity of an athlete's training. Don't become confused by the terminology, the concept is universally becoming embraced by coaches for competitive track skaters even though the implementation may vary and be described by different terms.
|Stage 1: Training to Train Basic body conditioning to development of strength, mobility, endurance, and basic technical skills.|
2: Training to Compete
of advanced technical skills and acquisition of a competition
experience, plus a continuation of training to achieve strength,
endurance/stamina, and mobility.
training schedule is ready to speed/power and
higher intensity intervals.
3: Training to Win Adjustment
of technical goals in preparation of achieving the goal of becoming an
is the level of elite skaters who are training to be
selected to represent
the USA in International and world/Olympic class competitions.
4: Peaking to Win Is
a well understood condition in athletic competitions of having all of
the principle factors come together in an emotionally driven
athletes work on physical training to win in
their sport. In
reality the athlete must achieve a state of mind that facilitates peak
performance. Those who learn to achieve this ideal mental state have a
significant advantage over competitors who are unable to achieve a
positive state of mind before and during their competitive
performance. You might describe this concept as state of self
confidence on steroids.
Some athletes achieve the desirable mental state through trial and error and reach the desired mental state by chance. Unfortunately there are others who are unable achieve the mental control to consistently bring out their best under high stress conditions.
When a skater moves from one stage to the next, his/her focus may change gradually or be completely replaced. Some focuses may continue to the end of the season, but at a lower level of intensity.
There is a relationship of between the Volume of Exercise, Intensity of Work, and Recovery Requirements of each stage:
Stage 5: Time Off - A period of "down time" to allow the skater to recover from physical, mental, and emotional stress cause by the demanding training schedule of the competitive season, plus the preparation to develop a training plan for next season.
The time off period can be extended to a point where the skater can experience a negative impact by forgetting previously acquired skill sets. It is common in the classroom, students returning from a summer vacation, need to have a four to six week review of topics taught in the previous spring.
Experienced skaters in higher test and competition levels have years of experience establishing automatic skill sets that are not affected by the rest phase.
Sometimes the rest period can help a skater forget errors that have existed for months, but not years. Technical errors that are long standing need to be "unlearned" before the proper technique can become an automatic long term memory response.
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Physical and Mental Training Considerations
The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
All materials are copy protected.
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.