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Off-Season Conditioning


Athletes need to maintain their physical during their off season
       Prior to writing an off-season conditioning program for skating athletes, it is important to examine the physiological demands of the sport. The process requires a coach to assess the physiological demands of the specific sport. This is best accomplished by performing a "needs analysis". Unfortunately, sports scientists have not analyzed and published the demands of the various disciplines of figure skating. There is more information available on speed skating and hockey.

Skating Injuries - Changes in the Sport - Welcome to US Figure ...
However, the suggestion that these changes have contributed to a higher incidence of overuse injuries requires further analysis.

Fundamentals of Alignment and Classical ... - Ballet for ...
Fundamentals of Alignment and Classical Movement for Figure Skaters ... through visualization techniques and intuitive analysis can improve technical ability. ... or conditioning class and put it within the grasp of the figure skater's needs.

Creating Longevity and Mobility in Figure Skaters - SportMed BC
Dec 31, 2000 ... When working with athletes in the sport of figure skating, we must focus .... A needs analysis must be performed at the beginning of any training

School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of ...
Gray, D. P., Chen, M., Hsieh, L. & Hadley, T. (2002) Marketing Research, United States Figure Skating Needs Assessment.

Off-Ice Training - Colonial Figure Skating Club
To conduct assessment sessions that identify the needs of each skater. To develop, implement, and supervise an off-ice training program for strength and the typical activity profile of a competition or game.

Designing a Fitness Training Program
       A coach must start from the basis of knowledge of the sport in order to design a fitness program that will target the physiological attributes that are most important to the goal of enhancing the athlete's performance.

       Separate from a needs analysis, it is important to also consider the growth and maturation of a young athletes and their physiological status to stick with a physical training program. The overall goal of physical training of a young athlete should be to establish a solid foundation of basis skill on which future skills can be built. Training programs should look beyond the preparing the young athlete for the upcoming season, but rather for long term success and enjoyment of the sport.

       Establishing sound training principles and exercise techniques when a beginner insures that they master basic movements and drills first, before progressing to more advanced movements. At each stage in an athlete s development should incorporate new drills and exercises into the their training to challenge our athletes.

Overview and Goals of the Training Program
       An outline of the needs of skating athletes needs to be developed according to age groups.

       The outline needs to establish basic goals to guide the design and implementation of the off-season conditioning program. The following general goals should be incorporated into the training program:

  • improve work capacity/endurance,
  • increase core strength, flexibility, and stabilization,
  • enhance footwork, balance and coordination
  • reduce injury risk.
       What is the best approach to accomplish these goals?
  • from a program design standpoint (i.e. program structure, exercise selection, duration of work outs etc.)
  • from a logistical sense (i.e. training environment, availability of equipment)?"
       Typical in-season practice schedule:
  • 5 week conditioning program
  • 90 minute training sessions 
  • twice per week (i.e. 10 sessions total). 

Design and Structure of the Training Program
       The first decision is how to structure the training program. State the principal - to create a training environment that utilizes the most efficient workout and rest periods that will maximize the efficiency of the allotted time.

       A typical training session should began with a 15-20 minute warm-up phase should provide an opportunity to perform a series of fundamental movement skills that elevates the athlete's muscle temperature and physically prepare the athlete for more intense exercises and drills.

       It is extremely important to use this warm-up regimen consistently in the competitive season prior to practices and competitions.  On and Off-Ice training should incorporate exercises to practice agility, strength, flexibility, and coordination. Following the warm-up phase, a training session must be designed to transfer the drills and exercises to support our training goals.

Training Variables
       In designing the training program there are a number of training components that a coach can manipulate to bring about a desired training effect. When considering the goal of increasing work capacity, it is the duration of workouts and recovery that is very important.

        Including purposeful exercising is a training variable that is critical to addressing the training goals. When considering the goal of improving core strength, it is important to include exercises that promote trunk stabilization and a exercises that strengthen the hip muscles.

       The use of a circuit-training format will alternate movements that target different muscle groups giving our athletes time for an adequate recovery while maximizing the quality of work performed in an efficiency period of time. Keeping in mind the age of my athletes and the goal of establishing a foundation for future success, It is very desirable to give athletes time to master a particular exercise in a physiological (i.e. gain in strength) and technical (i.e. motor skill development) perspective before increasing the exercises to a more physically demanding level or increasing their complexity.

       Each type of exercise will have different recovery and work ratios for each age group. High quality workouts must not exceed the athletes limitation for an adequate rest between sessions. The coach must focus on technique and managing the training session.

Off-Season Training Program
       A 5-week off-season conditioning program should include prescribed exercises per session and planned training volume (i.e. number of sets and repetitions, duration of work bouts). The exercises are typically performed in a specific circuit; however the actual training volume may vary according to time constraints. The training program should provide a detailed description of each exercise used in the training program, the training goal (i.e. work capacity, core strength etc.), and how it relates to on-ice skills.

Conditioning the In-Season
       The challenge is to transition from off-season physical and technical training to an in-season practice schedule. The coach/trainer must establish the basic foundation in the off-season when there isn't pressure to compete. Once the pre-season training starts, the coach and athlete must shift tactical training and conditioning.

       It is very important to communicate for the coaching staff to communicate to athletes and their parents, the physical training goals and determine how much time they will commit for physical training. Since there are financial and time constraints, the conditioning coach must develop creative ways to encourage athletes to put a serious effort into developing their physical skills in the off-season. Off-Ice and On-Ice practice sessions must incorporate warm-up, injury prevention training, and endurance training. The activity profile of each specific sport must be considered when designing physical training exercises.

       Every coach/training must establish baselines for each exercise so the success of the training can be accessed prior to transitioning from physical training to the in-season is fitness testing. Endurance is the primary component that can provide valuable information concerning the athlete's physical capacity as well to provide feedback and motivation state to the athletes.

Recommended Reading:

Physical and Mental Training Considerations

Developing A Training Plan

References:

Off Season Conditioning   April 9, 2011 ... -Off Season Conditioning-. Stay in shape and on top of your high school sports game all year round, with Off Season Conditioning.

Off Season Training This sample off season training plan is designed to redress imbalances that can occur during the competitive year.

Coach's Guide to Offseason Conditioning Follow this training workout from a certified strength and conditioning coach to make sure all your players are ready for optimal performance next season.

PDF Off-Season Conditioning Strength Training and Nutrition. Strategies to Build a Solid Base.

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:

  
Physical and Mental Training Considerations
Learning & Training Evaluation Theory
Exercises to Develop Coordination
Training Approaches
Training Strategies
Daily Training Tasks
Principle Of Variation
Training Transfer
Off-Season Conditioning
Peak Performance Training
Endurance Training
Building Endurance
PDF  Weight training Exercises
PDF  Strength Training Exercises
PDF  Power Skating Classes
PDF  Core Body Training
PDF  Endurance Training Plan

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credit is given for the source of the materials.


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