The Learning Process
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Transfer of Skills

Transfer of Muscle Memory
        When a movement is repeated over time, the muscles remember the specific muscle tasks that are associated. The process starts as short term memory and then is transfered to the brain and stored as long-term memory. This allows the brain to trigger the muscles to perform specific tasks without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for conscious attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems.

        Most motor skills are thought to be acquired through practice; however, many individuals can learn  skills just from their observation of the skill being performed or demonstrated.  The retention of acquired motor skills are stored in the brain as memory and can be accessed even if someone had not performed these skills in an extended period of time.

        The process of storing memories in the brain is referred to as "muscle memory encoding".  Motor memory has two stages:

  • A short-term memory encoding stage - fragile and susceptible to damage,
  • A long-term memory consolidation stage - a more stable stage.

       The stimuli sent to the brain are encoded within milliseconds; however the long-term consolidation of memories can take a few minutes, days, or even years to become a stable memory that is more resistant to change. Thus the importance of taking the time to reduce or eliminate the acquistition of short term muscle errors. Once a error has been assimulated into long term memory, the amount of time and energy to replace the error in the subcouncious mind will have quadrupled since the initial effort to acquire the skill.

Transfer of Knowledge and Muscle Memory
      Transfer of training can occur from on-ice and off-ice sources. Both cases, involve matching training activities with the energy demands (e.g., aerobic, strength, flexibility, etc.) of the exercises to support the techniques, and strategies of the skating coach.

      Sometimes the ice rink's schedule and the skater's availability are not ideal matches.  The skater's practice schedule can diminish the best practice/training conditions recommended by test and competition coaches.

      Transfer of skills from one discipline to another within figure skating is recognized as a fundamental training experience.

      There also is a high rate of skill transfer between general exercising programs; however, higher level physical skills between dissimilar sports does not transfer, or if a transfer occurs it is marginal.  

      The principle of training transfer should be applied to optimize exercise sessions:
  • When developing a training plan it is necessary to identify similarities in movement, perceptual, and conceptual elements between off-ice exercises, previously learned skills, and new skills that will positively transfer to figure skating disciplines.
  • There is a high degree of transfer between figure skating training activities and competitive conditions.
  • The discipline of school figures provided skaters with the fundamental skills that were the foundation for free skating, compulsory dances, and later Moves in the Field (MITF).
  • Development of gross motor skills in off-ice exercises transfers can transfer directly to jumps - i.e. the vertical jump is a key element of improving jumps in figure skating.
  • Specific elements in previously learned skating skills can be the basis for learning of new skating skills with similar qualities. For example, Basic edge and body control of simple turns can be applied to more difficult turns.
  • Weight training exercises that match the skater's fitness demands. The objective must always remain to enhance the skater's body movements on the ice, not to become a body builder or competitive weight lifter.
  • Coaches need to identify and Target key features of practice skills and conditions that are critical in maximizing the transfer of training to competition.  The greater the similarity of two skills, the greater the degree of transferability.
Academic Tutoring Programs
       If your child is doing the assigned homework and you observe that he/she doesn't know how to explain the process of arriving at the answers, it is a good indication that there is a problem and a learning assessment is required.

Note: Most schools have specific criteria that triggers a professional assessment to occur at the districts expense. It is also possible to engage the services of a professional, but the expense
can be a deterrent. If a local college or university is nearby, make inquiries to see if they can
provide testing for free as part of classroom training.

       A Learning Needs Assessment (LNA) helps parents, teachers, and students identify the status of the student's knowledge, skills and competencies. It also helps to establish where they should be so a set of learning goals can be established. The learning assessment can identify what will help to fill in the learning gaps, course content, schedules, etc..

       A needs assessment requires providing answers to the following questions:

  • Identify existing skills and knowledge of the learner
  • High light skills/knowledge/competencies that need developing
  • Identify clearly what the student and parents wish to achieve
  • Outline and define expectations and goals
  • Establish need and demand for the course you have in mind
  • Realistically list the outcome that can be achieved given the available resources and time frame
  • Identify any potential obstacles or difficulties which may arise
  • Establish a sense of ownership and involvement of the student
  • Gather information about the student - know your audience
  • What program will be the best fit between the provider and student - matching student needs with their expectations
  • Identify the content that best suits the student's needs
  • Discuss what delivery format - class based, online or a mix of these and other formats - is the best option.
  • What skill set and knowledge base is required of the tutor
  • Develop a budget and cost benefit analysis
  • When is the most suitable time to start a program?  Indicate the projected time line.
  • Determine suitable evaluation tools and tests
  • Outline expected results and measurement tools

Recommendation for Tutoring
       It can be tricky to suggest to a child that they can benefit from tutoring because of the stigma that occurs when peers make embarrassing comments causing the individual to become self conscious. It is very important to take the time to provide sufficient information so they understanding the reason for tutoring. Hopefully this allow the student to become comfortable with the idea. Success requires that the student buys into the process. A negative attitude will cause the effort to be counter productive.

      Tutoring can occur at home in one to one sessions or at a business location using a classroom with small groups of fellow students.  Finding a good tutor can prove to be difficult and frustrating experience; however, it is helpful to start a search by contacting the school counselor. They can steer you in the right directions, thus speeding up the search and resulting in multiple, viable options. 

      Aside from finding someone with the proper qualifications, the tutor must be someone whose personality will mesh well with the child.  Start with a few trial lessons and don 't be pressured into signing a contract!

Professional Diagnosis and Solutions
      Remember that physical problems, such as needing glasses and/or a hearing aid, may be at the root cause of the problem. Sometimes there may be serious information processing problems that require testing by a professional to recommend a plan to solve or mitigate the root problem.
  • When is it Time for Your Child to Embrace a Tutor?  June 15, 2010  How do you know when a tutor is needed? What are the defining characteristics of a tutor? A tutor can best be defined as a teacher that specializes in a specific area of interest, who usually has a teaching certification. However, advanced students in high school and college may be certified by their schools to tutor other students in specific subjects.
Academic Resources:
Recommended Reading List:

Principles of Sports Training

Principles of Training Athletes

Mental Training

Developing Course Materials


Games approach helps tennis players transfer skills learned in practice to matches   Coaches create scenarios on the tennis court in which players have to use their technical skills in match/game situations, forcing them to make decisions that simulate the choices they will have to make in a match. These skills, called tactical skills, are the bridge between practice performance and match performance. Although the proper execution of technical skills is necessary for success, the tactical skills (i.e., the ability to make the appropriate decisions) are the key to having everything come together when it counts - in the match.

Defining and Classifying Skill in Sport   Motor skills form the basis of all sports. Transfer of skills - The learning of one skill may help in the learning of another skill, sometimes in a different activity.

Transferable Skills  The most commonly cited transferable skills for athletes are:  1. Tthe ability to perform. 2, To achieve an efficient transfer of skills from sport to work.

University of Georgia Mental Toughness Program  Transferability of skills from athletic arena to everyday life. Appreciation for the specialized needs of student athletes, coaches, and teams.

Commitment to Academics - Auburn University Student Athlete  This course provides freshmen & transfer student athletes with a variety of Life Skills components necessary to maximize their educational success

Tutors : Home Instructors : Private Tutoring  We have tutors in all academic subjects like Math, English, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, History, and we tutor at your home or online tutoring.

Scripps College : Scripps College Tutoring Program  The Dean of Students office sponsors a peer based Tutoring Program that ... offering a network of qualified tutors in a wide range of academic subjects at no extra ... and set up a mutually convenient time and location for your tutorial sessions. ...

FAQ - Tutoring Center - Fullerton College Academic Support Center  After you fill out the Tutoring Request Form, the process of finding a qualified tutor begins. Most of the time we can help you find a tutor for any subject.

Tutor Hunt - Private Tutors & Personal Tutors For Home Tuition  The Tutor Hunt network helps both tutors and students find each other. Search by level, subject and location, create your own tutor or student profile for free.

The System of Learning


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:
      Mental Training for Athletes:

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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