Ice Skating Training Facilities
San Diego Figure Skating Communications
Comparison of Athletes in different Sports
Everyone goes through a learning process to acquire and optimize athletic skills. At some point the physical and mental abilities to perform at the optimum level begins to deteriorate as a natural part of aging.
There is a substantial difference between the performance goals of those athletes who are driven to develop their skills to an elite level and those who participate for the shear fun and pleasure of the activity.
Approximately 10,000 hours is estimated by the US Olympic Committee as necessary to acquire the necessary skills and experience to reach a level which allows an athlete to compete as an internationally in any sport.
Athletes who have been training for a decade or more may gravitate towards a career that evolves around their experience as an athlete. However, many of the opportunities will require a four year degree and even post graduate studies. Refer to An Athlete's Career Progression.
Power, speed of reflexes, coordination, stamina and length of recovery period naturally occurring stages of physical activities which can be described as reaching specific skill development levels. The term "peaking" if frequently listed as a phase in a competitive training season. However, this is not the context in which the term is being used in the following chart.
The concept used in the chart looks at the entire process of an athlete developing their skills as they strive to achieve a national placement that qualifies them for their respective county's world and Olympic team. At some point every individual reaches an optimum state of their physical and mental development. This performance level can not be maintained indefinitely. The information is offered as a guide that projects the training elite and recreational athletes feel compelled to endure to be competitive in national and international sporting events.
What are the components of success!New research shows that outstanding performance is the product of years of deliberate practice and coaching, not of any innate talent or skill.
In 1985, Benjamin Bloom, a professor of education at the University of Chicago, published a landmark book, Developing Talent in Young People, which examined the critical factors that contribute to talent.
He took a deep retrospective look at the childhoods of 120 elite performers who had won international competitions or awards in fields ranging from music and the arts to mathematics and neurology. Surprisingly, Bloom’s work found no early indicators that could have predicted the virtuosos’ success.
Subsequent research indicating that there is no correlation between IQ and expert performance in fields such as chess, music, sports, and medicine has borne out his findings. The only innate differences that turn out to be significant— and they matter primarily in sports—are height and body size.
What does correlate with success? One thing emerges very clearly from Bloom’s work: All the superb performers he investigated had practiced intensively, had studied with devoted teachers, and had been supported enthusiastically by their families throughout their developing years. Later research building on
Bloom’s pioneering study revealed that the amount and quality of practice were key factors in the level of expertise people achieved. Consistently and overwhelmingly, the evidence showed that experts are always made, not born. These conclusions are based on rigorous research that looked at exceptional performance using scientific methods that are verifiable and reproducible.
A typical athlete's acquisition of skills and progress is reflected in the chart below. The line between training to become an elite or recreational athlete is blurred in the early skill acquisition. Progress largely depends on the age the athlete initially becomes involved in a formal training program that is designed to maximizing the skills required for elite competition. The term "proficient" refers to a development stage of a recreational athlete.
Progression of Skill Development
*Recreational Athletic Activity
# Ballroom Dancing is now part of the International DanceSport Federation comprised of four sections - Standard, Latin American, Ten Dance, and Rock 'n' Roll.
The above chart estimates the average time spent progressing through the stages (developing - Peaking) of acquiring skills to become considered as an elite international competitor will total 10,000 hours.
Some athletes abruptly stop training, competing, and performing. For others, their choice takes place over several seasons and is described as a "Transition" to a decision to lower their performance expectations or "Retire" from actively performing. Some atheles may choose to pursue becoming coaches or other careers.
Many athletes train for years, reach the apex of their careers - International, World, and Olympic Championships. Some never achieve their goal. Athletes who do reach that level still may experience depression after the highs and lows of competing. Even athletes who place on the podium find that when the excitement of commercial endorsements and sponsors dies down they experience a phenomenon known as post-competition depression.
The conventional wisdom is that the aging processing can be delayed by continuing to participate in the sport, but at a lower performance level that does not involve the risk of injury associated with pushing the body's physical limitations as required in competition.
At some point in time the hazards associated with the sport can become such that the athlete retires from competitive events and being a paid performer.
Some sports have developed an assortment of different competitive events for recreational athletes of various age groups and physical abilities so they may have an opportunity to demonstrate their skills.
Life Continues After Competing
Sometime highly competitive people have a difficult time in participating in activities that are social and provide fun. The following games provide an excellent way to participate as part of a group without the stress of having to win.
Highly successful people in the business world have trouble adjusting to retirement. Activities for retirees does not have to be restricted to senior centers that offer social and recreational activities and lessons in knitting, crocheting, quilting, needle point, hooking, dancing, chorus, musical instruments, etc.
Individuals who have the expertise and time to volunteer to assist aspiring athletes in their sport and acquiring an education are rewarded by creating an enriched environment that benefits both individuals.
Board and card games provide a social activity and appeals to the competitive nature that is commonly found in many retirees who competed as youth athletes and a life time in the business community.Progression of Skill Development
Not all games require a high degree of memory recall and strategy development in order to play in a friendly social situation. Other games, like chess, bridge, and poker, are highly competitive with some events requiring specific levels of skills to be accepted in a game or match.
Continued Skill Development and Social Interaction
When many older adults were growing up, the following games were frequent activities at family gatherings at holiday gatherings. The the kids would play the less difficult games to allow kids of all ages to participate. Adults would play card games that required strategies and memory recall of cards that had been played allowing predictions (olds) of unplayed cards in the deck or in an opponents hand.
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:
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credit is given for the source of the materials.