Enhancing Skating Learning
San Diego Figure Skating Communications
a non-profit educational organization
Communication Requires a
Clear Exchange of Facts, Ideas, and Concepts
For a communication between two or
more individuals to be considered a success, the learner must be able
to correctly recall the information and be able to fully implement the
knowledge to solve problems. Developing physical skills involve both
the technical concepts and the performance of gross and fine motor
Adults generally need to understand
the technical concepts and the need to do things a specific way.
Children generally are not interested in explanations of how the body
works and are mostly concerned with the "doing" as they view talking as
time they could be an active participant.
Both adults and children have a wide
variation in the time they can spend on a task without losing
focus. It is an essential part of communicating that complexity
must be simplified by being viewed as a task list. Such a list is a
linear approach that starts at the beginning and systematically
proceeds to a logical conclusion. Ideally each lesson can
introduce a different item on the list as a separate lesson complete
with drills and practices designed to enhance the transfer of the
information into long term permanent memory that will be the starting
point for the next lesson.
Having a prepared lesson plan that
can be handed out is important as physical training usually does not
lend itself to the athletes taking notes during the lesson. This can be
logically extended to providing the lesson handout for the next class
as a homework/reading assignment. A short PowerPoint presentation can
be posted on a web site for students to download and review.
A white board available next to the
training area can also be a valuable tool. Some coaches use an
articulated model to demonstrate how the body parts will move. This
should be followed by having an experienced athlete performing the
task. Ideally this demonstration should only demonstrate the
correct way to perform the task.
It is very helpful to have a Teachers
Assistant (TA) monitoring each learner. After allowing the students to
individually attempt the task several times it may be necessary to
point out what can happen if the learner's body is unable to perform
any part of the task. This becomes a problem solving skill that each
individual needs to develop so that they do not continue to incorrectly
perform the skill.
Ideally a visual video replay can be
used to allow
the self analysis to occur. If that is not available, perhaps someone
can perform the role of a TA to provide corrective feedback to the
athlete. If a parent performs this role, take the time to provide them
with the training to be a reliable observer and not validating poorly
Validation is different from
Providing Biased Support
Proving athletes with emotional and
mental support can not change the real world's observations that
quickly become apparent in competitive situations. The rude
awaking of anyone that they must correct major flaws in their technique
may so discourage them that they quit rather than undergoing the
unpleasant task of correcting problems that have become deeply
ingrained in their long term automatic physical responses.
There are three
primary reasons for providing feedback to individual athletes and teams:
Skaters generally know if
they skated well
for them compared to practice session. There may be a difference
between how well they think they skated and the evaluation of the
judges. In a test, the skater and coach will receive a copy of the
judge's sheets. A coach can receive additional feedback from the judges
at the test session or contact them later if time does not allow an
opportunity when test schedules are very tight. It is important
for a coach to use the judge's comments to modify the emphasis on
lessons to correct errors even if the test passed.
Judges briefly see the
performance from which they
form perceptions they use to base their marks. While they point out
problems and identify strengths/weaknesses, they can not be expected to
provide detailed comments. Coaches can arrange for a judge to critique
the skater for an in-depth analysis.
Anyone familiar with instructional design, constructs a course outline by stating objectives, including how the objectives will be accomplished, and the methods that will be used to evaluate how well the objectives have been met. Formal educational courses include prerequisite courses for enrolling in advanced courses. A sports program such follow a prerequisite list of skill requirements suitable for a specific sport:
Feedback is highly desirable between athletes and coaches in team and individual sports. In many individual sports, a coach should always establish good rapport with parents through regular communications. Coaches should not wait until a crisis occurs to communicate concerns to their athletes and parents.
Coaches may think they are communicating the necessary information but, unless they have a way of involving the athletes in a dialog - there may be a serious communication gap. Too many coaches determine their effectiveness by how well the athletes perform under stress in competitive events. It is more work to attempt to evaluate how the athletes implement the coach's knowledge in practice sessions and especially those that simulate competitive events.
However, the earlier a coach can identify physical and mental areas that require correction can prevent errors in technique from becoming converted into long term automatic muscle memory skills. There are different ways to evaluate how well the information has been communicated:
This technology is helpful to point out both negative and positive features. Establish a video archive to demonstrate progress over several months. Schedule special off-ice time to review individual skater's progress. Don't over use as this tends to overwhelm younger skaters with too much information to process. When used judiciously, video analysis keeps a skater focused on the relevant tasks that need urgent and long term attention.
What is Motivation Sometimes a distinction is made between positive and negative motivation. Positive motivation is a response which includes enjoyment and optimism.
Motivation. Big, Small, Negative, Positive Aug. 1, 2003. Motivations comes in different sizes. Success accumulates.
How Negative Motivation Can Help Us Overcome Problems Jan 29, 2008. So how can you use negative motivation to make a positive impact on your life?
Positive Motivation Versus Negative Motivation Jul. 13, 2009. The difference between negative and positive motivation is the difference between surviving and living.
Psychology of Selfishness: Positive vs. Negative motivation Feb. 11, 2009. Take this opportunity to stop and think for a moment: Is the pursuit of such values in your life a result of positive or negative motivation.
Coaching Feedback - Coach and Athletic Director Find articles on coaching feedback from coaches and Athletic Directors.
Athletic Feedback Form - Haverford College HCAA: Varsity - Athletic Feedback Form. Improvement is an ongoing process. The Athletic Department Feedback Form is intended to be a fluid document.
Recruiting High School Athletes - Recruiting Feedback | NCSA Visit NCSA's recruiting section and find everything you need to know about recruiting high school athletes.
1. Magill, R.A. (2001). Motor learning: Concepts and applications (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
2. Schmidt, R.A. & Wrisberg, C.A. (2000). Motor learning and performance: A problem-based learning approach (2nd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
3. Wrisberg, C.A. (2007). Sport skill instruction for coaches. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
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.