Sports Psychology
 Information & Resources

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San Diego Figure Skating Communications

Peaking Performance
for tests and competitions

Comprehensive Athletic Training.
        The concept embraces the development of specially designed training to optimize an athlete’s total performance while playing competitive sports. There may be mental, emotional, and physical obstacles for inhibit an athlete's ability to compete at their true potential.

        There is nothing that is more frsutating for coachs, athletes, and parents to see someone who puts their total energies into following every suggestion. Still, the athlete has a difficult time in putting a winning prohram out when it really counts - the day(s) of the competition, meet, or match.  In the sports whose competitions extend over several days, the winner must deliver several well performed events without a major mistake.

Peaking for a competitive event, game, or mach requires both practice and planning
        The preparation process starts well ahead of the actual competition date. It is about adjusting the training schedule to peak on day of the competition. A day too early of too late will not usually accomplish a winning performance.

        Athletes use the term "peaking" or "being in the zone" to describe being in the absolute best condition (physical, emotional and mental) at a specific time for an event or race. It is not a simple process and it requires a lot of experience and planning. However, there are things that can increase the probability of peaking much more likely.

        Elite athletes generally aim for one primary event or goal, and plan the rest of the training season around that data. Some sports may have a series of international events that are optional. The practice of awarding cash prices helps to stimulate athlete participation. Such competitions also help to preview gymnastic and figure skating programs in front of the judges.

        Athletes in lower events may need to "peak" several times during the competitive season. Most sports will have a pre planned competitive season that a training program must work around and provide an environment that allows continual improvement and peaking for season ending championships.

The goal of peaking involves being at your best when it counts - the day of the test or competition

     A competitive training program consists of multiple stages. The last stage before competing is sometimes called “tapering”, but can also be called “peaking”, which is a more appropriate name since that's what actually is happening in this phase of training.

     The word taper means “to cut back” or “to narrow”. One aspect of the final phase of an athlete preparing for a competition is to cut back the volume of training to allow the body to physically recover and to both mentally and emotionally to "physic" themselves up for the competition.

     This is accomplished by backing off of their training volume while continuing shorter, quicker, and perhaps more intense workouts to maintain fitness in those final days or weeks. This is not the time to attempt to add new technical content and risk an injury!

     There are times when athletes may approach a competition and they have not been training consistently for a long time because of an injury that interrupted their training. In this example, there may not be a need for recovery, and in fact there might be a need to pursue additional training opportunities right up to the time of the competition. Under typical circumstances of an athlete working hard over a period of months, the tapering off will provide a positive release from the intense exercise schedule.

     The goal of training and tapering is to peak in time for your competition. An athlete that over trains will not peak successfully to coincide with the date(s) of the competition. There are definite symptoms which the athlete can detect when attempting to verify if the peaking process is progressing an schedule.

Sports training and conditioning has advanced tremendously since the era of a “no pain, no gain” philosophy was the standard physiology. It’s not only how much and how hard an athlete works but also how smart, when, and what training is performed that determines the athlete’s conditioning level.

Periodized Training
     Coaches and athletes in over 32 summer and winter Olympic sports use a periodized workout program that deals with pre season conditioning, in-season workloads, and appropriate rest/recovery periods.

     A Periodization Training Program works best if the athlete and parents understand the purpose of the program, how it works, why it works, and its application in the training room and on the practice sessions.

In a periodized workout. the objective is to peak at optimal times by manipulating six different training phases:
  • anatomical adaptation,
  • hypertrophy,
  • maximum strength,
  • conversion to power,
  • maintenance, and transition.
Recommended Reading:

Principles of Sports Training:

Training Principles for Athletes

Program Development


Sports psychologists discuss mental skills of peak performance   May 19, 1993 ... Peak performance in general, they said, requires practicing mental skills ... contribute to the performance of the world's best athletes,

Physiological Factors in Peak Performance of ...
Peak power output, the lactate threshold, and time trial performance in

Peak performance for competition The training prior to competition are all critical for peak performance. ... Much of the information in this article is drawn from other sports.

Competition Tapering It isn't done for every event just the one or two a year that you have pre- determined to be your key objectives for peak performance.

Tapering and Peaking for Optimal Performance Tapering and Peaking for Optimal Performance offers in-depth discussion of the science, strategy, ... Part III: Elite Sports Figures on Tapering and Peaking.

Nutrition for Peak Performance Sports Athletes   Exercise is an important factor in acquiring and eventually maintaining a healthy body. Exercise in general, and sports fitness in particular, tones

Athletic Focus & Sport Psychology: Key To Peak Performance Dec. 9, 2010 ... Sport Psychology & Focus to Be World Class by Simon Hartley, MSc Sport Psychology is a key component to evaluating what works and what

The Learning Environment:

Skill Development Environment:

Mental Training:

The Process of Learning

The Sports Environment


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organization/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Developing Training Plans for Athletes
Evaluation of Training
Age Training Guidelines
Components of Training Plan
Stages of Acquiring New Skills
Strategies for Training
Strategies for Competing
Fitness Training & Sports
Advanced Training
List Daily Training Tasks
Construction of a Training Plan
Developing An Annual Training Plan
Principles of Global Training
Competitive Training
Starting to Seriously Train
Skating Environment
Peaking Performance
Benefits of Cross Training
Principle of Varying Training
Varying Training Improves Results
Approaches to Training
Approaches to Jump Training
Transferring Knowledge & Skills
Aerobic Activities
Anaerobic Activities
Exercises to Develop Coordination
Off-Ice Activities For Skaters
Fitness and Conditioning
Off-Season Conditioning Activities
Tips for Long Distance Traveling
Mental Barriers to Training & Competing
Mental Considerations for Athletic Training
Mental Training Considerations
Mental Strategies for Training
Endurance Training Activities
Flexibility Training Activities
Bodyweight Exercise Training
Weight Training Activities
Brian Grasso Articles
Evaluation Assessment

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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