Figure Skating
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Learn to Skate
& Train to Compete

Fundamental skills open the door to lifelong sport and activity.    
       There are fundamental movement skills that children should master that will find make it easier to learn essential beginning sport skills which provides opportunities to new sports and physical activities. 

       Without some skills, children will struggle to participate in some types of activities. provides a dynamic tool where you can see the skills that your child needs to participate with confidence in sport and physical activity.

The fundamentals are linked to child development

Training to Compete

      At the Train to Compete stage of Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD), this is where competition becomes “serious.” Athletes enter this stage after they have chosen to specialize in one sport and their long term goal is to commit their efforts to achieve their highest potential level of competition.

      Athletes need to commit to a high-volume and high-intensity training program throughout the year. Instruction in physical skills is taught as part of comprehensive instructional program that also includes topics such as nutrition, sport psychology, recovery and regeneration, injury prevention, and injury management. 

      Formal competition becomes more prominent in annual per iodized training, competition and recovery plans, and includes major national and international events.

      The average community sport program participant is not a candidate for the Train to Compete program. They are committed athletes, with recognized talent, who have chosen an elite pathway that few others pursue.

      The Train to Compete stage of Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) should be considered as a dress rehearsal for the Train to Win stage. Train to Compete maximizes all of the physical, mental, cognitive, and emotional capacities of the athlete. It also teaches the athlete how to handle the distractions of elite sport, such as travel, weather, different competition venues, media, spectators, and difficult opponents.

      Winning becomes a major focus for participants of the Train to Compete program. Coaches should help their athletes to select specific competitions that support strategic athlete development. The learning and development that occurs during these competitive events will prepare athletes for the next stage in their sporting progress, Train to Win.

General considerations during Train to Compete

  • Provide year-round, high intensity, individual event and position-specific training.
  • Have athletes perform their skills under a variety of competitive conditions during training.
  • Place special emphasis on optimum preparation by modeling high-level competition in training.
  • Continue to tailor and refine individual fitness programs, recovery programs, psychological preparation, and technical development.
  • Emphasize individual preparation that addresses each athlete’s individual strengths and weaknesses.
  • Athletes must strive to deliver consistent high performance results in both training and competition.
  • Coaches should consistently use periodization plans as the optimal framework of preparation according on the periodization recommendations of their sport’s Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) plan.
  • Coaches and athletes must plan for tapering and peaking for competition, to accommodate the large increase in training volume.

      Tapering means reducing both intensity and volume in training as athletes approach the date of major competition events. Tapering allows athletes to peak for major competitions, ensuring that they will perform at their best.

Students at the University of Saskatchewan students created this video on Fun vs Competition.

Recommended Reading:

Fitness: The ABCs of Physical Education
10 Sept. 2012   by Jill Barker, Special to The Gazette
MONTREAL - Do you know what goes on in your child’s physical education class?
Physical literacy is an important part of a child’s education. And contrary to popular belief, time spent in the gym doesn't take away from core subjects like math, science and English. In fact, numerous studies have demonstrated that physical activity improves academic performance and classroom attentiveness. 

 Pilot Project aims for Physical Literacy
30 Aug. 2012  by Judith Lavoie, Times Colonist
Correct warm-up routines at an early age encourage a lifelong healthy, active lifestyle, says Richard Way, Canadian Sport for Life project manager. But, too often, early injuries lead young people down the path of obesity and an aversion to sports, he said. 

There is a difference between learning to skate and training to compete!
      There is a difference in learning how to acquire technical skating skills from a coach and performing the tasks individually compared to developing the skills to do multiple skills in a continuous performance.

      The addition of performing a choreographed program of the same skills to a musical section with transitions that tie the athletic skills with the necessary performance skills increases the difficulty.

      Some individuals can achieve the necessary performance, but when they attempt to duplicate their efforts in front of and audience of judges and spectators, they develop a form of "performance anxiety" that can be severely debilitating in extreme cases.

      Athletes can start competing by participating in a recreational skating programs such as the ISI and USFS Basic Skills "Learn to Skate" programs.

      A comprehensive training program can be designed by a skating coach. Such a program should be patterned after training used to develop elite skaters who can become a consistent performer with the stamina to complete at a senior level in free style, pair, dance, or synchronized team skating events. Competing is not a sprint, but requires consistently improving throughout a competitive season without the loss of energy and technical proficiency as the each performance ends. Remember that it is the final performance at the season's last competition that crowns the winner for that year.

      It is extremely important to avoid acquiring basic technical errors at the beginning stage because the skater, parent, and/or coach rushes to have the athlete starting to learn jumps and spins without acquiring the essential body control to perform essential edges and turns at a wide range of effortless flow over the ice.

Recommended Reading:

Hockey Training for Different Age Groups - Laura Stamm  (Technique) For children who choose to participate in hockey, skating skills now must be strongly ... Skill Training: Skating is an extremely complicated activity.

PDF Off-ice training to develop Skating Skills  On-ice training alone will not be sufficient.  There are many components to performing the complete skating stride. 

Figure Skating Skills The Basics - The basic figure skating skills you need to learn at the start.

PDF Off-Ice Strength & Conditioning for Figure Skaters  the USFS outlines of some of the guidelines for off-ice training and figure skating. I. Why should skaters perform off-ice training?

Training Figure Skaters Many training coaches prescribe that their skaters practice landing jumps and performing balance based skills (such as spirals) off the ice.

Sask. Speed Skating | FUNdamentals The focus of this stage is on critical skill and speed skating literacy. Optimal window of skill training starts for girls near the end of this stage, between ages
8-11 (Short & Long Track).

  • Learning Theories  The database contains brief summaries of 50 major theories of learning and instruction.
  • Social learning theory focuses on the learning that occurs within a social context. It considers that people learn from one another.
  • Learning Theories  One of the key issues to look at when examining any Learning Theory is Transfer of Learning.

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:

Learn To Skate & Train To Compete
PDF Acquisition of Skills
PDF Allocate Training Resources
PDF Determining Ability
PDF Developing a Training Program
PDF Developing Athletes
PDF General Training Principles
PDF Good Training Habits
PDF Pathways to Skating Goals
PDF Practicing School Figures
PDF Training Stages
PDF Figure Skating Training Program
PDF Strength Training Tips/Techniques
PDF Strength Training for Women
         Video Skating Clips
PDF Power and Acceleration Workout
PDF Measuring Core Body Stability
PDF Youth Athletes
PDF Smart Training
PDF Coaching
PDF A Common Training Fallacy
PDF Crossover Training
PDF A primer on Periodization Training
PDF 8 Year-Round Strength Drills
PDF Periodization Training Schedule
PDF Conditioning - Aerobic and Anaerobic
PDF Cardiovascular Yearly Training Cycle
PDF Resistance Exercises you can do at home
PDF Strength Program for Figure Skating
PDF Strength Training Benefits Figure Skaters
PDF Exercises you can perform at home

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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