Figure Skating
hosted by
San Diego Figure Skating Communications

a non-profit educational organization

Principles of Global Training

      An assortment of negative physical, psychological and emotional problems often result because of the over-pursuit of training in one sport during the maturation process in a young athlete.

      The initial phases of training a young athlete is referred to as General Preparatory Phrase or GPP, the focus should be having fun and aptitude development. This aptitude should transcend to both movement-based skills such as (balance, jumping, throwing, linear and lateral motion progressions etc.) and strength-based exercises.

     The challenge when working with pre-adolescent and early adolescent athletes is to provide stimulation from a global perspective. Younger athletes who experience and eventually master a variety of motor skills are more likely to achieve future athletic success and prevent injury.

      Developing basic coordination should be achieved through the stimulus of essential movements in the teenage years. Coordination is a global system made up of several synergistic elements and not necessarily a singularly defined ability - such as balance, rhythm, spatial orientation, and the ability to react to both auditory and visual stimulus.

      Good coordination is essentially a multi-tiered sequence that progresses from skills performed with good spatial awareness without speed through skills performed at increasing speeds in a constantly changing environment.  Research has shown that coordination needs to be developed between the ages of 7 – 14, and the most crucial period is between 10 – 13 years of age.

      As with any training exercise, it is essential to provide a specific stimulus that is appropriate for the individual. Prescribing drills that are either too easy or too difficult for the young athlete will have a less than optimal result.

      It appears there is a cap with respect to coordination development and ability. Younger athletes who learn to master the elements of coordination are much better off then athletes who do not recieve this kind of exercise until older. The ability to optimally develop coordination ends at around the age of 16.

     Young athletes should not be sterotyped into sport specific image at a young age and expected to vault into the ranks of elite athletics. Common sense indicates that it first necessry to become an athlete, before yoy can become a champion!

      When a young athlete transitions into an adolescent, they should possess a broad array of athletic skills and abilities that begin to isolate these macro elements into more specifically applicable capacities.

Universal Training
      Each athlete is different and what is a suitable optimized conditioning program for one athlete will not be ideal for another athlete. The best training program:
  • Targets specific individual weaknesses,
  • Address past or present injuries,
  • Provides sufficient time for recovery,
  • Is structured to provide the desired output per training input.
        Copying another athlete's conditioning program usually provides less-than-optimal results and might even incease the possibility of injures.

Principle of Specificity
        The principle of specificity states that the more specific a training activity is to a specific sport, the more likely each muscle group, work load, velocity and pattern of movement, body posture, and range of motion, will contribute to increasing the athletes performance in that sport. The exercises must be markedly similar to the sport to produce meaningful gains in functional strength and endurance. Exercises that are the most specific and will have the greatest transfer to the actual sports performance.

        An effective training plan must also target the specific muscle fiber groups, if the sport depends on fast-twitch muscle fibers and the ATP-CP energy pathway. Short, high-intensity exercises that target these concerns require performing multiple high-repetition exercises in which the demand extended and alternates using fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers.

The Functional & Athletic Aspects of Training Figure Skaters   By Brian Grasso      
        As a given sport evolves and the participants within that sport begin to break records and perform what was once considered impossible, you can be sure that advancements in training and conditioning regimes have occurred within that sport. Very few athletes ever become great sport technicians without the inclusion of a comprehensive athletic development and conditioning program as part of their training package.

       Over the past decade, the type of training and conditioning performed by young, developing and elite athletes has gone from basic fitness to more functionally- based and developmental activities. Figure skating and all of the disciplines under that umbrella are such examples.

The Benefits of Global Training

Written by CaresEditor · Filed Under Youth Hockey Training
Editor’s Note: A special thanks to Brian Grasso  for developing these articles.

The goals of any trainer or coach working with a young athlete should include increasing proficiency of motor ability, developing functional versatility and lastly, inhibiting the potential negative effects of specialized training. Upon reflection, these points, both individually and collectively, lend to the credence that when working with young athletes, the mandate should be one of global, all-encompassing development rather than specialized ventures into sport specific training.

      With pre-pubescent children, muscle innervation is completed by roughly the age of 6 years. Muscle innervation refers to the final expansion of motor nerve endings within a muscle fiber’s interior. The impact of this action on motor coordination is quite profound. At the conclusion of the muscle innervation process (again, roughly by the age of 6, although individual variances occur), children are now able to learn and begin the process of establishing functional proficiency in gross motor skills and movement patterns.

      It is critical to understand, however, that the innervation process happens more quickly and earlier (chronologically) in larger muscles. Again, innervation being linked to coordination and motor control, it stands to reason that children gain proficiency in gross motor skills more quickly than finer skills. This remains another argument for why early specialization is counterproductive.

      Every sport requires various degrees of fine motor skills, which can simply not become functional abilities in younger athletes. Global aspects of gross motor skill development are most understandably the crucial component of training pre-pubescent children.

No one can learn how to create 6 or 12 month plans in a day. It takes time and diligent effort to acquire this skill, but your ability to get better over time will have a direct and positive impact on both your young athletes’ success rate as well as your businesses ability to attract new clients.

      Set an objective for yourself to create a system or plan that allows you to develop long-term and wide-focused agendas for your young athletes. Take several days or weeks if need be to create a system that is streamlined and easy to implement – although your are looking for a comprehensive system, the more basic you make it, the more easy it will be to adhere to.

Start simply. Take a piece of paper and write out where you want your young athletes to be in 4 weeks. Create headings and then just fill in each category. For instance, what skill sets are you working on now? To what degree of competency do you want an athlete or team to be able to demonstrate that skill set in 1 month’s time? This can also be applied to elite adolescent athletes. Are you working on squat or power clean totals right now? If so, where do you want these numbers to be in 4 weeks?

      Once you have organized your thoughts on where you would like to be in 4 weeks, you have to consider how you are going to get there. On the same or a different piece of paper, right out how many training sessions or practices you have with this athlete or team between now and 4 weeks from now. Date each training session or practice on your piece of paper. Now, using your skills as a Trainer or Coach, literally, just fill in the blanks.

      Compare where you want to be in 4 weeks with the number of training sessions or practices you have between now and then. In order to accomplish your 4-week goal, what action steps along a critical path must be taken? This is the essence of how to develop a long-term approach to working with young athletes. You will simply just write out your next several training sessions or practices in order to meet the objectives you have laid out for 4 weeks from now.

This system can easily be applied to 6 months or even a year. Just follow the same type of procedure as mentioned above – set out an objective for the time frame and decide where this athlete or team needs to be within that time frame. Let’s say you have a 13-year-old athlete for 6 months and you want to determine an objective and critical path. Take out a piece of paper and write out where you want this athlete to be in 6 months. Be descriptive with this – what skill sets do you want him to have mastered? What kind of movement-based techniques will he show great competency in.

      Once you have decided that, break those large objectives down into more manageable ones and make them your first 4-week objective. To get to your end destination, where to you have to be at the end of this month? From there break it down even farther by deciding on how many training sessions or practices you will have over the course of the next 4 weeks and design them in accordance with your 4 week objective. Next month, do the same thing.

An amazing thing happens when you create objectives and critical plans like this. You will start seeing results in your athletes and teams beyond what you ever-dreamed possible. Failing to plan is one of the biggest concerns facing this industry. It seems everything is taken on a session-by-session basis with no vision or thought to the long-term. It could be argued that individual trainers and coaches didn’t know how to plan for the future… well; now you do!

Practice the skill of objective writing and critical path creation. It will take time to design a system that flows well for you, but it is more than worth it to your young athletes and teams.

Recommended Reading:

PDF Principles of Training Sports medicine professionals must be familiar with the basic principles and processes of training, so that they can evaluate training program


Sports Information

Sports Training

Developing A Training Plan

Training Considerations


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:

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.

Athlete Concerns     Collection of Related Ideas    Skating Articles    Related Topics      

Ice Skating Rink Index    Topic Index    Site Index   Home Page