Skaters who have had the greatest success are those who invest in their training early in the season. The off-season is an important time to focus on rest and recovery, pushing the boundaries of your creative comfort zone with new programs, and periodization planning. The pre-season is about testing out your new programs, getting feedback and making adjustments, and setting a strong foundation. Although this can be done on your own or with your coach, it is best done with a performance trainer who can help you reflect on your season and plan for next season.
Write it Out
I use different worksheets to help my skaters work through this. One, in particular, focuses on achievements from the previous year and setting goals for the upcoming year. The year is broken into quarters and the goals are set in the appropriate quarter, making the goals much more achievable. When you spread your goals out over the season they feel less overwhelming.
Setting a Strong Foundation
The goal of off-season and early pre-season competitions has to be on establishing a solid foundation. This is a performance that consists of you attempting all your elements. That means no popping! You can build from this performance even if you fall on everything.
Setting simplified, realistic and achievable goals for performances in the off and pre – seasons is crucial. It is too soon to be expecting clean programs in competition. You want to map out how many competitions you will be competing in and when you want to peak so that you can build and prepare for this.
Playing your Music
Decide whether you will focus on your long program one day and your short the next or if you will run the long and the short each day. Plan to do at least 2 run throughs with the music each day. This will help you with cardio as well as reducing the apprehension that is sometimes associated with doing a run through with music.
A mental trainer/performance coach, like myself, can help you start your season off on the right foot.