figure skating

SUPERS.T.A.R GOAL SETTING: A step by step primer on how to set your goals for figure skating or dance.

Part One: Setting your Goals

“Plan the work, and work the plan.”

The first step on any journey is to know where you are going. 
Goal setting is the first step on your journey in skating!

Learn How to Goal Set Like a SuperS.T.A.R.

S.T.A.R. stands for:

Specific: You can’t achieve it if you can’t describe it in detail! Break your goal down into manageable chunks, and attack it one chunk at a time.

Trackable: If you can’t measure it so you can keep track of it you won’t know when you’ve achieved it. Make sure each goal has a quantity attached, or a quality, as well as a time element. These things will  help you track your progress.

Attainable:  I’d like to play in the NBA.  I’m 5’4” and can’t jump high. I’m also 50 years old. Even if I could quit my job and train 5 days a week to get a great jump shot, I will never grow any taller. 

My goal of playing in the NBA is NEVER going to happen.  Enough said.

Realistic: It may be attainable, but are you willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices to make it happen?  THIS is when it gets real.

As we work through our goal setting process together, I am going to ask you to always come back to these principles. 

Ask your self constantly, is this goal specific, is it trackable, is it attainable, and is it realistic. If not, adjust your goal to make it so.


SuperS.T.A.R. Goal Setting Strategy

The first step in any goal setting process is sometimes the scariest.  You have to DARE to dream. Don’t worry about anyone making fun of you.  These are your dreams, and you’re allowed to have them!

So, when you dream about skating, where do your dreams take you?

Use the space below to write out some of your dreams when it comes to your skating:

Now that you’ve dared to dream, you have to do something even harder.  You have to ask yourself some hard questions about your dream.

ACTIVITY #1: Try using these questions to help you assess if your dream is realistic.
(Using a blank piece of paper, spend some time thinking of the answers to the questions
, and write them down.

1. How realistic is this goal?  Check out the internet, google how many people have achieved it. Read about their journey, find out how long it took them and the obstacles they encountered.

2. Am I really ready to make the changes necessary in my life to achieve this goal?

3. Am I ready to make sacrifices along the way to achieve this goal?

4. Am I ready mentally to handle the ups and downs/successes and failures I will encounter along the way as I work toward this goal?

5. Will I have a good support system around me to help me achieve this goal? This includes, family, friends, coaches and teachers.

6. Are the necessary facilities and coaching readily available in my area to achieve this goal, or do I have to look elsewhere for them?

For our next step, take a look at the picture below and insert your DREAM GOAL.

Now divide your dream goal up into do-able chunks by years to start.  We will use a three year plan here, but anything goes! Take some time and list the things you need to accomplish along the way to get there.

Year One:  Steps Necessary to Achieve Your Dream Goal

Year Two:  Steps Necessary to Achieve Your Dream Goal

Year Three:  Steps Necessary to Achieve Your Dream Goal

Note:  If you need more years to break your dream goal down, use a blank piece of paper or a journal to write down your thoughts.

We’ve spent all this time thinking about our goals, and breaking them down into yearly steps, or increments.  So far so good!

Here’s the next step:

Now that we’ve painted in the larger strokes of our goal setting, it is time to follow our SuperS.T.A.R. guidelines once again and get even more specific.  For this phase, you now need to do your research, chat with your coaches and parents, and find out a whole lot of information.

ACTIVITY #2: Using the Yearly Planning chart found after these questions, we are going to plan the dates and major events for each season. 

Things you will need to know, or at least have a rough idea of are:

· Start and end dates for each season. Make sure to start with the month that your year starts in, if you are competitive and skate/dance year round, this would be May/June  If not, this might be September/October.

· Major life events, such as holidays, school trips, exams, or anything else that may require some of your time and focus away from skating (these are called INTERVENING VARIABLES) and you need to plan for them whenever possible and adjust your training schedule accordingly.

· Test Days/Exam Days

· Competitions—these can be divided into two groups:

1. TRAINING competitions: where the whole idea is to go and get some feedback.  This means you will not be varying your training overly much to produce what we call a “peak”

2. QUALIFYING competitions: These competitions are the priority, where you will be adjusting your training leading up to the event in order to help you feel ready and rested so you have every chance to turn in your absolute best performance. Put a star beside these on your Yearly Planning Chart!

· Choreography, when is the best time for you to start working on new programs?

· Dates you set aside in order to check your equipment, such as if you need your skates sharpened, or if you need new skates or dance shoes, or a new costume.

· Dates you set aside to monitor your progress. (More on this a little later)

These dates will help you as you plan your training for each season, so circle the important ones on the Yearly Planning Chart so you know when they are coming and where they sit in your year.

Yearly Planning – Important Dates


                        The Importance of Assessment Days    


Before we move on, we need to remember a crucial part of goal setting and planning:  ASSESSMENT DAYS!

These are the days that you SPECIFICALLY SET ASIDE so you can go back through your week, month, season, or year, and take stock of how you did.

This is part of what we call SELF-MONITORING – which is the ability for you to look at your strategy, and “tweak it as you go” so you can be more successful.

Those people who are able to look at their strategies, analyse them, and tweak them are the people who end up seeing the most success and happiness in their careers.

So, how do we know if we’ve achieved our goals?

Ask yourself these questions:

· Did you pass the tests/exams you had wanted to?

· Did you achieve the performances you wanted to?

· What about the specific elements in your skating or dancing, did you achieve those in the time frame you wanted to?


Did you achieve these things right on time, or WAY ahead of the time frame you allowed yourself? Did you feel a sense of accomplishment with your goals? If you achieved your goals too easily, you might want to make your next set of goals a little more difficult.   

If you don’t challenge yourself, you limit your ability to grow and really see what you can do!


WHY didn’t you achieve the goals you wanted to accomplish? What do you need to change in terms of time, effort or strategies in order to complete these goals?

Use failure to achieve goals as FUEL for the next round, and be more realistic in your next round of goal setting! There are assessment sheets at the back of this module, use them after every season!

Now that we have our list of important dates, we can move forward with breaking down our first year!

AGAIN: It’s important to  pick the season where your year starts.  Example, for a competitive skater, the year starts in the spring.  For a recreational skater, your year may start in the summer if you summer skate, or in the fall if you do not.  This is where it’s important to know what you can give and commit  in order to make your dreams come true. We are going to pick YEAR ONE.

ACTIVITY #3: Using the following template, break into groups, or pairs and help each other fill out ONE TEMPLATE PER SEASON.

Use this template to write out your goals for each season.  Take your time and really break things down.

Hint:  It helps to work backwards, if you know you want to be able to land an axel 3/3 attempts by your third skating season, (if you only skate three seasons a year) then by the end of your second season you should be able to land 2/3 axels clean and by the end of the first, you should aim for 1/3 landed.

SEASON ONE:                    

Date Begins:                                        # of Weeks:                          

TEST GOALS:                                                                                                                                                                        


PROCESS GOALS: (goals you want to achieve as you work every day toward your larger goals)







(these are things that may disrupt your training, like exams, vacations, etc, so adjust your goals accordingly)

As you set out your goals for each season, make sure to revisit your SuperS.T.A.R. goal setting guidelines!

Now that you have all of your goals for every season planned out, the next step is to use these goals to break down each season into monthly and weekly sections so you can more easily keep track of your progress and you can adjust your training as you go.

Keep your eyes peeled for the “SuperS.T.A.R. Goal Setting Part Two” blog when it comes out for more information about how to organize your skating or dancing year so you can be the best skater you can be!

Note:  make sure that at the end of every season you sit down either by yourself, in a group or with your coach and use the assessment sheet template provided below to really see how you’re doing, what’s going really well, and what you can do better. 

Assessment days are a real opportunity to gain valuable feedback about your training and how you can tweak it to progress faster!

I hope this blog and the goal setting ideas and exercises help you to better plan your skating or dancing journey, and help you enjoy the ride! Remember, these principles apply to any sport, and can easily be applicable for competitive cheerleading and gymnastics too!

Do you have any helpful goal setting tips you’ve used for your athletes? If you’re an athlete, what works best for you in terms of goal setting?

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