The Learning Process
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Establishing Sports Goals

Individuals who establish their own goals are most likely to be successful
Goal setting is a powerful process for achieving a better life. When is the best time to start thinking about the your ideal future career? When young children are asked, they don't give much thought before answering. The most common response usually is their latest hero and they have no concept of what is involved to achieve that exalted position.

       High school students are starting to prepare to attend college, enter the military, or entering a skilled trade. Some students may be exploring journalism, standup comedy, TV shows or news, the performing arts, forming sing groups, and small bands and to motivate yourself to turn your vision into reality.

       The process of setting goals helps to develop a road map of the posibilities of life options. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You'll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray.

       Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation to focus on what skills, knowledge, and experience must be acquired and how much time and money will be required to achieve the goals. 

       Clearly defined goals are much easier to measure. Goals that are established in achievable increments are preferred because the individual will take pride in the achievement of those goals. Annual progress provides a steady source motivation and builds self-confidence in the continued effort to achieve a distant goal requiring a decade or more. 

Lifetime Goals
       The first step in establishing personal goals think about doing for the rest of you life. If that is too far in the future,  consider what you will do after graduation form high school. Develop a list of things you would like to accomplish by age 12, 18, 22, 26, 30, etc. Include an assessment of how much you would need to earn to support a specific life style. Briefly describe the life style. Do you see yourself married? Any kids. pets, house, apartment, house boat or condominium?

       To give a broad, balanced coverage of all important areas in your life, try to set goals in some of the following categories (or in other categories of your own, where these are important to you):

  • Education - Is there any subject area you particularly think you would like to do?
    • Would you prefer to work outdoors or in an office setting?
    • Do you prefer individual automatmy over following orders?
    • Do you like sales or prefer a position like a draftsman, nurses aid, or food service?
    • Do you envision yourself as an attorney, doctor, dentist, olymptmogist   ?????
  •  What information and skills will you need to have in order to achieve other goals?
  • Family - Do you want to be a parent? If so, how many children? Will one parent stay at home or will both work fulltime?
  • Artistic - Do have any artistic talents you would like to explore professinally?
  • Career - What level do you want to reach in your career, or what do you want to achieve?
  • Financial - How much do you want to earn, by what age? How is this related to your career goals?
  • Attitude - Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? (If so, set a goal to improve your behavior or find a solution to the problem.)
  • Physical - Are there any athletic goals that you want to achieve, or do you want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this?
  • Pleasure - How do you want to enjoy yourself? (You should ensure that some of your life is for you!)
  • Politician - Do you want to enter politics and run for public office, scholl boards, judges, prosecutors, etc.?
  • Public Service - Forest Service, Fire protection, Law enforcement, Court and Jails, etc.

       Setting goals and objectives creates a path for figure skaters to follow to master the skills that are necessary to be successful. Goals and objectives are an effective motivational technique that boosts skill learning as well as performance in competition.

       Ice skaters tend to be more focused and committed to training when goals are clearly established and they know unquestionably when they have achieved them.

Figure Skating Goals
       There are three different types of goals coaches can establish to help athletes develop the skills to be succeed as a figure skater:

  • Outcome goals are those that compare the performances of athletes with those of other athletes. For example, qualify at regional to enter sectional championships.
  • Performance goals are used to improve an athlete's individual performance. For example, tracking total points scored based on event summary sheets .
Process goals are used to improve the execution of a specific skill. For example, landing fully rotated jumps on a secure edge on a bent knee, with full free leg extension, and erect upper body.
Establishing Goals
  • Set realistic, yet challenging goals. More difficult goals lead to better results than easy goals.
  • Coaches and parents must be very specific about their expectations of what the skater can accomplish in a given timeline. Specific goals are more effective than do-your-best goals or no goals.

  • Goals must be meaningful to the skater. He/she must understand the relevance of goals so they are motivated to achieve them. This is especially true of teenagers who may be challenging authority figures at home, work, and school.

  • Identify the target skills that an athlete needs to develop, the conditions under which the athlete is to perform these skills, and the reward for achieving the goal. For example, completion of 90% of attempted multi-revolution jumps that are fully rotated and landed on a secure one foot landing will be rewarded by incorporating the jump into their competition program.

  • Offer constructive feedback and be precise about the progress. 

  • It is very important that each skater participates in the goal setting process and provides input back to their coach on how they perceive their progress. Better results are achieved using this approach than assigning goals without the involvement of the skater.

  • Adjust goals to accommodate individual differences, such as age, gender, physical attributes, abilities, stage of learning, past experience, or other pertinent qualities.

Tracking Progress
  • Establish base line for skaters at the start of each season in different areas -
    • Jumps
    • Spins
    • Footwork sequences
    • Transitions
    • Special items (i.e. spread eagles, spirals, pivots, hydroplaning, etc.).
  • Track scores from fitness or sport skill tests as an objective measure of how how off-ice training is progressing.

  • Track progress of testing. Review actual test sheet comments.

  • Track placement and summary sheets of IJS events.

Recommended Reading:

Principles of Sports Training

Mental Training

The Process of Learning


Goal-setting Career goals stipulate the final major outcome of participation in a sporting career. Those are established by the athlete are likely to be successful because of the high rate of compliance.

Goal Setting   Good goal setting gives a skater an “edge” in three areas: Direction, Feedback, and
Support.  Many skaters achieve some success without using formal goal setting, but virtually every great athlete who consistently succeeds, uses some form of goal setting. Using goal setting is as necessary as having a coach.

Goal Setting Tips for figure skaters, dancers, etc.  Setting goals for performance athletes! What is a goal? A goal is simply a stepping stone to a greater accomplishment or dream. Your dreams can become a reality with a clear vision, a plan, perseverance, and luck.

Principles of Effective Goal Setting   This article is adapted from Goal Setting for Synchronized Skaters and Coaches: Determine for yourself what you believe you can achieve and are willing to expend the effort to accomplish!

PDF Team Building Through Team Goal Setting   a team goal setting program, sport psychologists should (a) establish long-term goals first, (b) establish clear paths to long-term goals, (c) involve all team members.

Importance Of Setting Goals It's important to set goals that are achievable, report doctors at the Association for Applied Sports Psychology. Moderate goals often are better because they are more likely to be achieved.

Your Responsibilities as a Skating Parent    This page should help you do much more than survive your child's skating experience.  Helping your child set performance goals.

How to Set Realistic Goals for Yourself for individuals who have never previously taken the time.  You may want to become a world champion ice skater; however, is this a realistic goal?

Sports Psychology Degree information  An extensive list of Sports Psychology programs broken down by campus as well as detailed information about the degree and possible career choices.

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:

      Mental Training for Athletes:

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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