An effective training programme selects appropriate skills and organizes their repetition into a plan that adjusts volume and intensity over time to facilitate optimal performance.

“...Like most complex human endeavours, training must be well organized and planned in order to ensure the achievement of training objectives. Thus the planning process in training represents a methodical and scientific procedure which assists the athlete to achieve the desired performance. The plan takes account of the athlete’s background and physical potential... A plan has to be simple, objective and above all, flexible, as its contents may have to be modified to match the athlete’s rate of adaptation to the physiological challenges and improvements in performance.”1

Once the objectives for the year have been identified, a training programme can be established. The process of dividing the training year into blocks of time, or phases, each with its own technical, tactical, mental and physical objectives, is called periodization. Listed below are the different periods of the year, their phases and within each phase the types of training that take place.

The Preparatory Period


-basic skills are developed
-the training state achieved provides a base for higher intensity work
-high volume, low intensity
-large muscle groups stressed
-develop strength and flexibility
-mental training starts
-nutritional education

-build aerobic base, start anaerobic work (if age applicable)
-build specific strength
-begin specific mental training
-high volume, low intensity
-technique highlighted
-start new solos

The Competitive Period


-train energy systems specifically for the performance
-competitive tactics introduced
-high volume and an increase in the number of high intensity workouts
-sport specific activities
-Invitational competitions
-full run-throughs
-evaluation and re-evaluation

-emphasize technical and tactical work
-low volume, high intensity
-maintain strength
-develop power
-identify Ideal Performance State
-compete- the final test of decisions

-a reduction in workload immediately preceding a key competition to allow athletes to regenerate in 
  preparation for a competition
-low volume, high intensity
-emphasis on simulating the competitive experience

The Transition Period

-recover from the stress of competing and from injuries
-stay active
-get rest, have fun, take time to enjoy family and friends

Most skaters will go through all phases each year but not necessarily just once and in order. There can be more than one cycle in a year. Or skaters may flip back and forth between just two phases such as the Pre-Competitive and the Competitive.

1  Bompa, T.: Power Training for Sport. Mosaic Press 1996. p.49