Free Skating Performance
|Performance in any branch of skating is a combination of heredity, personality and training. Each skater is different. Some possess favourable genetics (somotype, health, physiology, efficient central nervous system etc.). They are naturally athletic and for them, skating, in fact most sports, are easy and regardless of the quality of their training they may progress quickly at first. Others have personalities well suited to take advantage of the training available. With self-discipline, training is more dedicated. Most skaters with some measure of favourable genetics and self-discipline will progress without quality training although possibly to a reduced level of proficiency.
"Practice does not make perfect. Only practice that yields feedback about the correctness of responses can generate advances towards perfection. If the activity content is largely irrelevant for competitive requirements and/or feedback is inadequate or non-existent, the practices will be wasted. There is no dispute that individuals without external correct coaching feedback do improve in performance but only to a certain level. Without instruction, individuals tend to adopt expedient strategies for movement control which quite often are not the best or most economical forms... The expedient patterns that have been learned and perpetuated limit performance to that mediocre level." 1
Coaches have very little influence over their skaters' personality and no impact whatsoever on their heredity. The only area a coach can really influence is training and that influence is limited by the extent to which the skater is willing and able to be trained.
Training in free skating is a combination of practice, technique, energy systems, equipment, choreography, mental skills, planning and figure skating philosophy. All skaters can benefit from good training from the moderate to the extremely talented. It allows the moderately talented to enjoy figure skating at a level that would not otherwise be possible and gifted skaters to go beyond where heredity and personality alone would take them to permit success at the uppermost levels of performance.
1 Hellebrandt, F. A.: The physiology of motor learning. In R. N. Singer (Ed), Readings in Motor Learning. pp 397- 409.
Philadelphia, PA: Lea & Febiger 1972