The Learning Process

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Developing Athletes

Developing Childhood Athletes
      
After an athlete becomes successful, it makes for a nice story line that their first coach recognized their talent and encouraged his or her parents to provide lessons and extra practice time. A decade or more later, the prediction was realized. Sounds like a "fairy tail" and doesn't reflect the sacrifices and hours of practicing rather than socializing with friends. 

       There are so many different external and internal sources that must combine with a small measure of luck for one individual to become an elite winning athlete who was able to defeat the odds against realizing their potential.

       The odds are against emerging in the top 1% of the eligible athletes, in any sport,  This is not an excuse for exposing young athletes to low or poor quality coaching and ill fitting equipment. In sports with body contact, it is even more important that childhood athletes be nurtured and allowed to have fun, while developing their physical strength, coordination, and sport specific skills.

Competitive or Recreational Pursuits of Athletes
     
Succeeding in any sport requires a substantial support system just to transport developing young athletes to and from practices, plus a taxi service to and from school.

      Some opportunities to participate in a limited number of sports are available in junior and senior high school varsity and junior varsity programs. Some sports may be supported via sports clubs in school. There also are sports that are organized by private not-for-profit sports organizations where the parents pay the entire cost to participate.

      The cost of equipment, protective gear, practice fees, and coaching adds to the necessity of raising considerable funds to cover training expenses. There are also expenses associated with entering a series of qualifying competitions requiring funds for transportation, lodging, meals, and coaching fees. In some sports like figure skating, there are others expenses such as costumes, cutting music, and the services of a choreographer.

      There are two major costs - fees for practice and lessons - that require coaches and athletes to take advantage of additional transference training for skill development, flexibility, strength, coordination, and balance. Low or no cost programs may be available at public park and recreational facilities.

The Role the Athlete
      It is the responsibility of the athlete to participate in all practices and meets, or competitions with the desire, commitment, energy, and dedication as their contribution towards a positive sports environment.

      Each of the figure skating disciplines have a unique system requiring the athletes to pass tests to become eligible to enter the different competitive event levels. There are also age requirements designed to allow skaters to compete against others of like ages and skills. Generally most sports have requirements such as age and/or weight divisions to accomplish a similar goal.

      Passing MITF tests provides the basis to succeed in earning a gold medal in free skating, pairs, Compulsory Dances, and Free Dance.

      The following articles provide a perspective for coach and parental expectations of physical skill development related to the athlete's age and social maturity.

PDF  Athlete Development

PDF  Long Term Athlete Development

PDF  Training Theory

PDF   Coherence in Athletic Training Education

PDF   Overtraining Of Athletes

PDF   Exercises

PDF   Skating Drills

PDF   On-Ice Exercise Drills 1

PDF   On-Ice Exercise Drills 2

Resources:
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:

Learning Considerations
PDF  Attentional Focus
PDF  Spatial Disorientation
PDF  Effects of Mood on Performance
PDF  Confidence through Motivation
PDF  Transfer of Learning Issues

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.


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