The Learning Process
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Stages of Skill Development

Sport Specific Skills
      Each sport requires different types of skills to be developed that are acquired at different rates depending on their personality, natural skills, coaching, and availability of practice sessions.

      Most recreational skaters can acquire the ability to perform the basic edges, stroking, crossovers, and turns providing they focus on developing these skills rather than spending too much effort on attempting to acquire free skating skills until after the have mastered the basic skills. It is quite common for beginning skaters, who aspire to learn to free skate, to dismiss the need to developing their basic skating skills before concentrating all of their efforts on attempting to jump and spin.

      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 .... analyzes 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 reacclimated 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.

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 engrain 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:

Learning Sports Skills and Motor Development

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 propreception 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 proprioceptive 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.

Skill Development Environment:


Sensory Integration
      Sensory Intergration 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

How to Build Speed and Agility

How to Conduct 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 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


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:

Program Development
Athlete Development
Skill Development
How We Learn
Stages of Learning
Parent-Teen Relationships
Youth Development
Stages of Skill Development
Stages of Figure Skating Skill Development
Long Term Athlete Development Framework
Techniques of Sports Skills
Principles of Motor Skill Mechanics
Newton's Laws of Motion
Athlete Training Principles
Being Successful in Sports
Age Appropriate Sports Training
Effect of Learning Environment
Essential Feedback

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