Learn to Set SMART Goals in Figure Skating

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:






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

June 16, 2015

How to Train for Competition

Will (13) and Christina (8) Chitwood at 1998 Broadmoor Open Practice Session

Will (13) and Christina (8) Chitwood at 1998 Broadmoor Open Practice Session

Once you become a competitive skater, it can help you grow in many areas of life if you train for a competition properly and use the competition as a learning experience.

After you and your coach have decided on a specific competition, set some goals for that competition. Then, each week, set weekly goals that will help you achieve your competition goals. (See New Year, New Goals.)

Leading up to any competition, you should utilize your practice time well. If you are in a lesson, focus as much as possible, and make notes after your lesson that you can use before your training sessions on your own.

Read the entire article.

February 6, 2013

Top 5 Ways to Train like an Athlete

Christina at the gym. (Photo by David Paterson)

Christina at the gym. (Photo by David Paterson)

We all have an athlete inside of us. Your inner athlete is there whether it was developed when you were younger, you’re currently a competitive athlete, or you’ve not experienced your competitive side. The key to bringing out the athlete within you is to train like an athlete.

As an elite athlete from a young age, I’ve had a lot of experience training as an athlete and living as an athlete. Something I’ve noticed is that if you’ve ever been a competitive athlete, that’s a part of you for life.

Often there is a transition point. For example, I’m no longer a competitive figure skater. There are still many areas in life where I continue to be an athlete.

Here are 5 ways to train like an athlete:

Read the entire article

May 30, 2012

Build on Love and Skill at the Beginning of the Season

Today, I’d like to share a post my mom, Deb Chitwood, published at Raising Figure Skaters. It tells about the work skaters can do at the beginning of the season and the benefits for skaters attending summer skating school. It also has a motivational word-art freebie.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

Each sport has its pre-season time to build. And I think we can look at almost anything as pre-season whenever we’re starting a new project or new time of our lives.

This is the beginning of the season for many in competitive figure skating. I always enjoyed watching how skaters go through the process of finding the right music, choreographing programs, and designing costumes. At the same time, extra emphasis is placed on developing and refining skating skills at the beginning of the new season.

Read the entire article.

April 27, 2012

Crash Pads Help Skaters Learning New Jumps

This week I want to talk about crash pads for skaters. Pads can be very beneficial for skaters learning new jumps that require many repetitions and falls to master. I usually have my skaters get pads when they are learning their axel. If they’re falling a lot on another single jump, I might recommend crash pads earlier.

Since the axel jump is 1½ rotations in the air, it takes more time and practice to master than the previous jumps. Also, the longer the rotation, the more height and rotation speed required. This causes falls on jumps like the axel and above to have more force with the skater possibly getting a bruise or another injury.

Even if the falls aren’t that hard, just falling many times in a row can cause muscle soreness or bruising. Another advantage of pads is that they usually give the skater an extra boost of confidence that makes the jump easier because the skater isn’t as afraid of falling.

There are various crash pads for skaters, including pants you can buy with pads sewn in already. My favorite individual pads are made by Waxel Pad. They’re a foam material that’s available in ½-inch, ¾-inch or 1-inch thickness. Waxel Pads have small, medium, and large sizes available, but the medium size in a ½-inch or ¾-inch thickness works best for most skaters. You can buy the hip or butt pads separately, although I recommend just getting the set of three with both hip pads and the butt pad.

Happy skating! 🙂

January 22, 2012