|Long Term Planning|
|The concept of periodization can be extended to include an entire skating career in which training is divided into stages each with a different and progressive focus. The Long Term Plan For World Leading Performance matrix illustrates the interaction of the main forces driving future success and the optimal flow into and and out of the introduction, development and perfection of each.
A constructive matrix must represent ideal progression in order to be valuable in guiding the planning process. An effective long term plan organizes the accumulation of all relevant learning on a time line in concert with human development and geared towards maximum development of talent culminating in winning a World Championship or Olympic games. It is not necessarily meant to be realistic for all skaters or demand that any particular skater adhere to any particular schedule or curriculum. It is a theoretical, academic representation of the learning a champion acquires through his talent and training against which another skater's particular progress can be measured. Stakeholders can also use it to help define and/or modify curricula, programmes, rules, facilities, test and competitive structure and so on. Champions have not necessarily acquired an abundance of all the qualities mentioned but they have acquired a sufficient number. What that number is, is also dependant on the standard and rules of competition at any given time and as we know, that can change rapidly.
Free skating is an early specialization sport and so is defined primarily by technical development, therefore, the entry and exit points for the stages are defined by skill acquistion. Other factors such as age, education, and developmental stage are included as a reference but of course, not all skaters will acquire the ideal level of skill at the ages listed. For any skater, the most important relationship is interaction of the various training factors.
Although the extent of technical development is influenced by chronological age and maturity it is not restricted by age. Age is sometimes a qualifier for competitions but no skater or coach would delay progress to conform to a certain competitive category. Technical progress- in free skating anyway- is on-going regardless of age. Skaters should become as proficient as possible, as quickly as possible. Other qualities such as life skill development, psychology and physiology will certainly impact progress at whatever stage of technical development and should be considered but movement through the stages are not defined by them.
Not all skaters will progress through every stage. It is not necessary to experience all stages to have a successful and fulfilling skating career. The vast majority of skaters are STARSkaters and will not ever reach the High Performance stage even though they may compete and even win. For most, their skating career path will end at or before the Senior stage. This occurs for several reasons:
-retirement before age 18 (often to attend University)
-infrequent and uncommitted approach to tests and competition
-focus on meeting a test standard
-training less dedicated overall
-training too diverse (i.e. Free Skating, Dance, Skills, Interpretive) for the volume of training time.
This is not to say they will be 11 years of age when they retire, but that their level of skill achievement will that of a Senior stage skater, regardless of age.