Learn to Set SMART Goals in Figure Skating

How to Lace Figure Skates: An Important Basic Skill
Top 4 Tips Figure Skaters Can Learn from Olympic Gold Medalists Shen and Zhao

If you don’t know where you are going, how can you expect to get there?

– Basil S. Walsh

One of the first and most important skills an athlete needs is the ability to set goals.  Goal setting is a sport psychology concept that is relevant to all levels of figure skating, whether you’re a recreational skater or an elite skater aiming for an Olympic medal.  By setting goals, you will be a more confident and successful skater.

A useful acronym to use when setting goals is SMART:

Specific

Measurable

Appropriate

Realistic

Time-Bound.

Goals should be SPECIFIC.

An example of a specific goal is, “I will land 3 out of 5 loop jumps in my practice session today.”  Another example is, “I will hold each of my landings for 3 seconds today.”

Goals should be MEASURABLE.

The measurable parts of the above goals are in red: “I will land 3 out of 5 loop jumps in my practice session today,” or, “I will hold each of my landings for 3 seconds today.”

Goals should be APPROPRIATE.

When setting goals, it’s important for them to be appropriate for your skating level.  If you’re an ISI Freestyle 3 skater, it would not be appropriate to have a goal of landing an axel in your 12-week semester of group lessons.  A more appropriate goal would be to do a change-foot spin with 4 revolutions per foot during your semester of group lessons.

Goals should be REALISTIC.

Realistic goals are similar to appropriate goals. Unrealistic goals are goals that are not attainable for your level of skating.  A realistic goal for an ISI Freestyle 3 skater would be to obtain a sit spin with 3 revolutions in 2 months or a loop jump in 2 months.  An unrealistic goal would be for an ISI Freestyle 3 skater to land a double axel in 2 months.

Goals should be TIME-BOUND.

It’s important to put an accomplished date on all goals so you know they’ve been achieved.  It’s also important to set daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, and long-term goals.

Why don’t you practice setting some goals?  Make sure they’re SMART.  Try setting 3 goals for this week.

SMART GOALS word art image created by Deb Chitwood

How to Lace Figure Skates: An Important Basic Skill
Top 4 Tips Figure Skaters Can Learn from Olympic Gold Medalists Shen and Zhao
March 16, 2010