The Learning Process
 
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Starting to Seriously Train

Exposure of children to skating may start around Kindergarten
      Boys usually are a year or two behind girls in coordination and social development and may start a year or two later. Most fitness experts encourage both girls and boys to participate in different sports, recreational, and social activities for several years prior to exclusively participating in any individual sport.

      Sometimes an older sibling is skating and pareents may find it is easier to bring a younger sibling along rather than find a baby sitter. It is vey important that parents do not just drop a child off at a rink. The rink is not prepared to provide the supervision of a child and do not have a signed parental permission for autjorizing medical care in the event of an accident.

      Park and Recreational Departments frequently sponsor sports and fitness activities at low or no fees to residents of the local community. Take advantage of the opportunity for your potential skating star to gain physical strength, agility, and coordination by participating in non skating activities.

      Ice skating is an expensive sport that requires an annual expense for skates, related equipment, sports clothing/outfits, ice rental, and lesson fees. These expense can be substancially more expensive then pursuing sports like track and field are sports that are sponsored at the middle, high schools, and colleges.

There is pressure for young athletes to concentrate their training on one sport
      While many skaters start much earlier, starting too early can cause some individuals to become disenchanted as they become teenagers and want to participate in more school activities (choir, band, theater, etc.) plus a desire to pursue a social life.  The serious competitive athlete must choose to make sacrifices in order to be competitive in ice skating and most other sports.

     The stage of serious training can begin several years after first starting to learn to skate in group classes at the rink.  may vary according to many factors other than a chronological age. Atheletes rarely are able to start and maintain their optimum performance for 10 or more years. beginning at different ages

Chronological age:
• Males 12-16, and
• Females 11-15

Objectives:
• To develop endurance, strength and speed
• To develop athletics-specific skills and fitness

Pursuit of being a serious competitive athlete
     This is the most challenging and critical Stage as it encompasses both opportunity and vulnerability in terms of growth and development. This is the period where individuals tend to change physically at faster rates than when they are younger. 

    When Peak Height Velocity (PHV) occurs the bones grow first, sometimes rapidly which puts increased stress on connective tissues.  Flexibility, posture and technique become very important. At this time of accelerated growth, these elements can be compromised through a reduced range of motion, which can create abnormal movement patterns. Supervision and monitoring becomes critical as these changes occur. 

    Physiological, psychological and medical monitoring of growth and development will target the deceleration of growth in late maturers. Regular musculoskeletal screening is essential and anthropometric measurements are introduced where appropriate. 

    Training needs should be identified during this Stage through regular monitoring of PHV.  Speed development (girls: 11-13; and boys: 13-16) will have an increased emphasis on anaerobic alactic power and capacity training during this Stage.  Aerobic training should begin to focus on capacity at the onset of PHV and formal aerobic power training begins at PHV (deceleration of growth). 

    Formal weight training is introduced to develop general strength for girls at the onset of menarche and boys 12-18 months after PHV.  The development of the ancillary capacities should progress with the intention of further integrating the physical, mental, cognitive, and emotional aspects into on-ice training activities which support enhanced performance skills. 

    Planned training and competition modeling is introduced towards the end of this stage. Programming becomes more structured with defined taper and peak periods, which requires ongoing evaluation and modification.  Introduction of event area specific training begins at this time. 

    During this Stage, over the course of 4 weeks to 10 months depending on the program, other sports are reduced to 1 or 2. Training should approach a total time of 12 hours per week towards the end of the stage, involving 4-7 sessions of physical training and activity. 3-5 of these sessions should be in athletics event specific areas.

References:

Physical and Mental Training Considerations

Developing A Training Plan

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:

   
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

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