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Principles of Learning Sports

General Physical Fitness Preparation is Essential to Participate in all Sports Activities
      Indoor and outdoor playing physical games, running, throwing, etc. are examples of fun activities that parents can encourage. Many children detest gym classes because they frequently involve team activities rather than individual activities. The process of choosing teams is actually the reason for the aversion to Physical Education classes. It can be a very humiliating experience to be in the pool of kids who are not considered desirable to be considered valuable as a member of a team.

      School aged kids need to spend an average of 60 minutes a day in moderate to vigorous physical activities to stay fit and healthy. The play/fitness time should be divided among aerobic, muscle and strengthening activities.

      It may be difficult to arrange a schedule for children that fits into the parents abilities to allow your child opportunities for individual physical activities before, during, and after school. It becomes even more complicated if they are participating in team sports.

There is concern about children becoming addicted to computer sports games instead of real sports
     
A full hour of exercise on a daily basis can be a challenge if children watch regularly come home from school and watch TV, texting, and/or surfing the Internet. While it is very important it is not desirable to become so involved in studying. reading and doing homework to the exclusion of physical activity.

      During elementary school some kids are faced with a decision to participating in several sports and other activities that all compete for a limited amount of time before and after school. Those who are athletic might end up increasing their time and commitment to sports. However, the more recreationally oriented athletes may lose interest and decide to quit teams and leagues. Unless they find replacement activities, their physical activity levels can go way down.

How to motivate kids to participate in sporting activities, if they aren't natural athletes?     
       Not every one can win sports trophies. The key is finding activities they enjoy. Its extremely important that the activity they choose is fun, so they are more likely to not invest excuses or not practicing. The more they practice, the better they get, feel more accomplished, develop self confidence, and want to do continue to the next level. Pushed a child into activities they don't like increase the probability they will want to participate, and in the end become so frustrated they quit.

PDF Physical Activity and Kids (School Age): Information Physical Activity and Kids (School Age): Information for Parents. Guide I-103. Revised by Carol Turner.

A Master Training Plan requires a time schedule for the acquisition of skills
      Athletes need to acquire different types of skills. For each individual, the process of acquiring and perfecting these skills occur at different rates depending on athletes personality, natural skills, availability of practice sessions, and the training goals of the plan devised by the instructor or coach.

      For example in the sport of ice skating, beginners must acquire the ability to perform the basic edges, stroking, crossovers, and turns rather then focusing on attempting to acquire free skating skills. It is a common situation for beginning skaters to aspire to learn to free skate while dismissing the need to developing their basic skating skills concurrently with efforts to jump and spin.

In every sport, athletes must conquer Physical and Mental Barriers barriers!

Jumping and Multi-revolutions -  Skaters who excel in jumping have more assertive, positive personalities who will attempt to imitate other skaters if not introduced to good jumping technique in group classes or private lessons.

Anthropometry of Figure Skating    There are certainly some body builds which are more suited for skating than others. Also, due to differences in body size, strength, and power, there are differences in the ladies' programs as compared to the men's programs.   

The Florida State University   Values such as independence and assertiveness become more obvious. .... the idea that female ice skaters cannot jump as high as male athletes or the achieve multi-revolution jumps is like breaking the 4 minute miles was a mental barrier on runners. An analysis the rhetoric surrounding women's figure skating.

The Basis for Training...  which increases their self-esteem and reflects a strong personality.

Spinning -  is a skill that some skaters have difficulty acquiring because they lack the ability to compensate for dizziness caused by their middle ear.

Vertigo   Vertigo is a false sensation of moving or spinning or of objects moving or spinning, usually accompanied by nausea or lack of loss of balance.

Inner Ear/Balance Nerve Causes of Vertigo  There are many symptoms - lightheadedness, imbalance, and a spinning sensation - that are all commonly referred to as dizziness, but each can arise from completely different causes.

Why don't figure skaters get dizzy?    Spinning may cause dizziness: at the beginning of the spin, when the skaters are not yet used to the sensation, and at the end, when they must get re-acclimated to relative stillness.

How to Spin Without Losing Your Lunch

Step sequences and transitions between required free skating elements are essential in the development of a well balanced free skating program. Athletes initially practice their jump and spin elements separately. The is a problem when combining the required elements in a continuously flowing program that varies in length according to the event.  Performing an error free program with difficult elements interspersed through out the length of the program requires stamina and consistency.

How to Choreograph a Free Skating Program

How to Choreograph an Artistic Skating Program
  
  
Benefits of General Physical Preparedness
(GPP) 
    
      General Physical Preparedness (GPP) plays a vital role in developing every athlete's physical abilities. As they progress their movements become effortless and both good and poor quality motor skills are reinforced. GPP is great for developing motor skills.

      Athletes need to schedule performing the same tasks at the beginning and end of a practice session to duplicate their performance in a free skating program. The reasoning behind this that every skater is affected from mental and physical fatigue starting approximately 50% through their program, depending on their conditioning. The longer the program, the more acute the skater's fatigue factors into the possibility of serious errors.

      The key to success in any athletic performance is making the difficult tasks easy to perform. Repetitions ingrain the motor patterns into the subconscious mind and allow the skill(s) to be performed even as fatigue sets in. Fatigue causes mental and physical skills to degrade, so achieving good technique is very important in performing the movements automatically when fatigued.
 
Skipping Rope 
      Simple rope skipping is also great to enhance your agility - the ability to rapidly change directions without the loss of speed, balance, or body control.  Increasing foot mobility is one of the results of jumping rope. However, as fatigue sets in basic rhythm and tempo begins to break down. 

      Use a progressive system of increasing quickness and length of sessions. GPP should be done on a daily basis not only to enhance a skater's workload threshold and motor skill development, but their concentration level during difficult training.

      Athletes need to perform difficult tasks under difficult conditions to increase reactive strength and reflexes. A program of testing and evaluation of motor skill development is essential to achieving training goals. Testing should measure all qualities an athlete needs to become successful.

Recommended Reading:

Fundamental motor skill development
      The fundamental skill phase of development begins in early childhood at about two to three years, and individuals have the potential to be fully proficient in most of them by about six years.

      Fundamental motor skills (i.e. hopping, jumping, skipping, kicking, throwing, catching etc.) are prerequisites to learning of sport specific skills (basketball, football, gymnastics, tennis, badminton, etc.).  Sport specific skills are comprised of fundamental skills. It is very difficult to obtain proficiency in sport skills unless the prerequisite fundamental skills are present.  A person's gross motor skill development depends on both their muscle tone and strength.

Gross Motor Skill Development
      Gross motor skills are defined as the movements of the large muscles of the body that involve such essential activities such as walking and sitting upright, plus sports related skills such as kicking, lifting, throwing a ball, etc..

      There are five senses that are commonly discussed: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. One overlooked sense, known as proprioception and kinesthesia, is the sensation of joint motion and acceleration that provides the sensory feedback mechanisms for motor control and posture. This sense allows the brain to unconsciously keep the body oriented and balanced while sending out immediate and unconscious adjustments to the muscles and joints in order to achieve movement and balance.

        A great amount of training in motor activities relies on enhancing proprioception activities.  Proprioception input comes from sensory receptors or nerves inside the body rather than on the skin's surface.

      Learning any new motor skill involves training our body's proprioception sense which involves our ability to move our arms or legs in a precise way without looking at them.  Proprioception is so automatic that our conscious mind barely notices it. Thus it does not receive the attention it deserves in a training program; however, the ability can be trained, as can any other motor activity.

      Gross motor skills include:

Fine Motor Skill Development  Fine motor skills are our ability to use our fingers, hands, and arms together to reach, grasp, manipulate small objects such as forks, spoons, crayons and scissors.  Through the process of coordinating Fine Motor Skills integrated with our abilities enable us to learn complex skills such as tying a shoe lace, fastening buttons, eating with a fork & knife, and printing, handwriting, typing, etc.

Sensory Integration  Sensory Integration deals with how the brain processes multiple sensory modality inputs into usable functional outputs. It is believed that inputs from different sensory organs are processed in different areas in the brain. However, different regions of the brain may not be solely responsible for only one sensory modality, but could use multiple inputs to perceive what the body senses about its environment.

      The communication within and between specialized areas of the brain is known as functional integration. Sensory integration is necessary for every activity that we perform because the combination of multiple sensory inputs is essential for us to comprehend our surroundings.

Hand-Eye Coordination  Eye–hand coordination is complex because it involves the visual guidance of both the eyes and hands, while simultaneously using eye movements to optimize vision.  Normal eye–hand coordination involves the synergistic function of several sensorimotor systems, including the visual system, vestibular system, proprioception, and the eye, head, and arm control systems, plus aspects of cognition-like attention and memory.

Eye-hand Coordination   What is eye- hand coordination?

Visual Motor Skills - training eye/hand coordination, visual    They range from simple to quite difficult, training eye/hand coordination, visual closure, visual scanning, visual tracking, and fine motor control.
 
How to Improve Hand-Eye Coordination

References:

How to Build Speed and Agility

How to Do Speed and Agility Drills for Kids

Stages of Youth Athletic Development

The Four Stages of Learning a Skill

The Basic Elements of Shaping: The strategy for developing and modifying sporting behaviors

Stages of learning

Learning Sports Skills and Motor Development

Learning process when acquiring motor skills similar for all individuals

Learning and Learning Theories  Stages of Learning. Observation of improvements in performance led researchers to suggest a teacher can help ensure positive transfer of learning in sport skills.

Physical Education (HKDSE) The knowledge and skills acquired in this part also help students explain and regulate the process of motor learning and enhance their sports performance.

Coach's Corner - Power Motivation  Negative motivation can result in excessive anxiety and tension, while positive motivation tends too positively energize and arouse
   
Resources:
   
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:    
   
  
    
Training Principles for Athletes
Principles of Learning Sports
Athlete Training Principles
Sports Training for Children
Goals & Objectives for Skating
Sports Training Syllabus
Lesson Planning for Sports
Long Term Athlete Development

PDF  Trainability of Children
PDF  Trainability of Young Athletes
PDF  Writing Objectives

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