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Off-Ice Training
 
Off-Ice Training can be an Important Supplement to On-Ice Training!
      Besides the lower cost, there is a distinctive advantage in learning how to acquire technical body control skills off the ice compared to performing the tasks on the ice.

      Off ice training can take advantage of the warmer conditions and availability of floor to ceiling mirrors. It is possible to practice at home if a barre and mirrors can be installed. 

      Home Gym equipment can be pricey, but it does away with the travel to and from the brick and mortar membership gym and the monthly gym fees soon pay for the equipment. What is lacking is the assistance of a certified training coach.

      Any kind of regular exercise can reduce stress levels. However, for extra help, choose Eastern exercises which tend to be easier on the body andt incorporate meditation.  Try out some classes of tai chi or yoga at your local community center. Different types may be available:
  • Kundalini yoga: Yoga is a discipline that connects the mind, body, and spirit by requiring you to move through different physical postures while meditating and focusing on breath work. Kundalini is a meditative form of yoga. It focuses on breath work and meditation while mixing in classic yoga poses.
  • Iyengar yoga: Yoga is a discipline that connects the mind, body, and spirit by requiring you to move through different physical postures while meditating and focusing on breath work. There are many styles of yoga. With Iyengar yoga, you hold your postures for a longer period of time compared to other yoga styles, which increases the strength demands required to complete an Iyengar series.

  • Ashtanga yoga: Yoga is a discipline that connects the mind, body, and spirit by requiring you to move through different physical postures while meditating and focusing on breath work. There are many styles of yoga. Some yoga styles are gentle and slow. However, Ashtanga yoga is a style that moves practitioners quickly through a series of fluid, continuous poses, boosting the effort level required to complete the series.

  • T'ai Chi: T'ai chi is a meditative exercise that requires you to pay close attention to your breathing while completing a series of choreographed, slow, fluid, and continuous dance-like movements. It is a gentle physical exercise that is easy on the joints.

  • Chi-gong (Qigong): Chi-gong is an exercise that focuses on breath work, while incorporating meditation and very gentle, slow physical movements. The focus is on breathing naturally, moving easily, and imagining energy traveling through your body.
Traditional Strength, Flexibility, and Endurance Training
      There is a caveat to be observed - all off-ice training should support and enhance the goals of the specific type of ice skating. Each ice sport - Hockey, speed, and figure skating require developing specific skill sets that are only appropriate for that sport.

      The transference of skills can occur between sports in the following fundamental areas:
  • Core Body Strength
  • Endurance/Stamina - Sustained Energy
  • Short Bursts of Energy
  • Coordination and Balance
  • Basic Flexibility
  • Development of Dexterity - turn equally well to right and left (skating clockwise and counter Clockwise)
Enhancing Presentation Skills in Figure Skating
      Performing a choreographed program to a musical section(s) increases the difficulty when transitions between major features combine athletic and performance skills.

      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 programs used to develop elite skaters to 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, it is a long distance marathon that 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:

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).

Hockey Training for Different Age Groups - Laura Stamm  (Technique) Skating is an extremely complicated activity. For children who choose to participate in hockey, a strong foundation in fundamental skating skills must be developed prior to starting hockey training.

References:
  • 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.
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:
   
     
    
     
Off-Ice Training
PDF  Cool Down Exercises
PDF  Warm Up Exercises
PDF  Off-Ice Training For Figure Skaters
PDF  USFS Training Program

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of materials is given for education purposes only!
Credit must be given for the source of the materials.
 


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