April 2005
Strategy for success

For some people success just falls in to their laps, either because of circumstance, right time at the right place, random luck, or simply because they are naturally very good at something without having to work too hard at it. But for the majority of us success does not come easy and we have to work very hard for what we get.

To have success you first need to know what that means to you, in other words, you need to be very specific in determining at what point you can say you have been successful. To do this you need to know what steps will determine the path to success. You need to set goals, small steps that lead to bigger steps, and ultimately the top of the ladder.  Setting a strategy for success is as important as setting a strategy for races. If you know how you are going to get there, and follow the steps up, you increase your chances of getting what you want.

For most of you now, your season is finished. You all fall in to the following three categories: You have either met all of your goals, some of your goals, of none of your goals. Why is that?

Now is the time to set the strategy for the success you will have next season. It’s not just a strategy but a plan of action, and by committing it to paper you will have a great chances to succeed because now you have a map to follow.

The following is meant to help you map out the strategy for next year. You start by assessing what you accomplished this year and how you got there, or didn’t get there for that matter. You must be absolutely honest with yourself in this assessment and not make lame excuses for what wasn’t. By the same token if you did your very best in trying to meet all your goals but some fell a little short, give yourself credit for the effort. Maybe the strategy brought a measure of success and continuing on it will bring even more or you need to find a different strategy to be even more successful. 

Yes, this is a long process. But it WIIL help you to have a much clearer path to accomplishing next years goals. You will need to establish daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, season goals, motivation plan, attitude plan, evaluation plan, etc. 

Here’s an example of how you might use this exercise to help you evaluate and plan for next season:



My plan for success for this season included these goals

I specifically wanted to improve technically in the following areas: 

Area 1 – Corner lay in
Success – I feel I was ____80% successful______
The things that help me to succeed were:

The things that hindered my improvement:

To improve this for next year I need to:

I need to evaluate my progress in this area by:

Be very specific in what you want or wanted to improve. 
If you wanted to improve technique, what specifically did you want to improve, ie: corner entry lay in, corner exit lean and power, straightaway timing, start position, start reaction. Write down specifically how you improved it and how will you improve it next year.

Specific physical qualities might include: aerobic capacity, aerobic power 1000m and up, lactic capacity 500 – 1500m, start reaction, power of line – 1st 100 meters, foot speed, maximum strength, strength endurance, muscle mass. If you wanted to improve strength but didn’t, why not? Pick a couple of key areas that you feel might be lacking and ask your coach for specific training programs to improve each quality. Decide the method to evaluate improvement – testing, time improvement, heart rate improvement, number of reps you can do, amount of weight lifted in 10reps, etc.

Specific strategies could be: passing inside, passing outside, blocking, learning how to lead, leading at a different paces, using different tracks to your advantage. When, where and how will you improve your inside passing? What drills do you need to do it, what time of year is best to bring in this focus, what races will you target for it? Who will your training partners be who you think will best assist you in accomplishing it?

Improving  mental skills might be:  controlling fears, controlling emotions, maintaining confidence, following my race plans, maintaining a positive attitude, being happy, blocking distractions, improving imagery skills. For example, a plan to improve imagery skills may involve picking a specific technical thing you are focusing on improving. You may watch skaters who do it well, get videos of skaters who do it well, do simulations off ice and feel and see yourself doing it well, image it on it before doing it, and feel the correct technique as you are doing it.

Assess your flexibility in various areas and decide what and how you will improve as flexibility plays a major role in comfortably being able to hold your basic position as well as in applying power to your push.

How was your nutrition this year? Do you know what you need in your diet to perform well.  Assess and plan in the following areas: General everyday nutritional plan, pre race nutrition, race day nutrition, post race nutrition, hydration, weight loss, weight gain, knowledge of what foods work best for training, racing, recovery.

And, yes, there is life outside skating. Your goals and plans must take all the other things you need to get done, like school, music, other sports, family, friends, etc. These things need to be written as part of your plan as well. Can you realistically fit it all in and expect the level of success you say you want. Be honest. No sense writing it down and making a semi commitment to it because it will only leave you disappointed. If you want to skate 5 days a week, make the Junior World Team, and play varsity basketball do you have time to do both at the level you want. Commit to what makes most sense in your life that you will be satisfied accomplishing.

Once you have complete this exercise, pick out the 3 most important items to help you get where you want next year and tape them inside your helmet or write them on a piece of cloth and sew them to the back of your glove so you are reminded every time you skate of what is important to you.

Print and copy the sheet below and start your Plan for Success today!


My plan for success for this season included these goals

I specifically wanted to improve in the following areas: 

Area 1 – _______________________________

Success – I feel I was  ______  successful
The things that help me to succeed were:

The things that hindered my improvement:

To improve this for next year I need to:

I need to evaluate my progress in this area by:

My three main targets for improvement next year are:




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