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Created by Sue Ellis, former US Olympic Speed Skating Coach
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"My strategy there was just to lead the whole race. It was the safest way to win it.”

...Charles Hamelin on winning the 1000m at the Sept 08 Canadian Trials-
The Competition Plan
By Susan Ellis

Many of you at a sub elite level are now coming in to the most important competitions of your season – National Age Class championships, Provincial or State championships, etc. How you approach these competitions and prepare for them may be a determining factor in your success. Such things as having the right taper in to the competition (see March 06 tip), getting enough rest and sleep, eating a healthy diet, and reducing outside stresses such as homework loads, work loads, family and friends issues, are important to help you prepare well. Along with these things, writing out a plan for the actual competition days can help you to be well prepared, have all the little things taken care of in advance, and allow you to focus on the racing itself.
The previous three month’s tips should have served to help prepare you in terms of what strategies you will use and the tactics that will help you to carry out your race plans.  (if you have read them yet go to Dec 08, Jan 09, Feb 09 ) Now the actual Competition Plan will help to prepare you physically and mentally in the days leading up to, and during, the competition as well as taking care of nutrition, rest, and equipment. 

The Competition Plan can be as detailed as specifying what you will do anywhere from a week before the competition to just days before. The longer out you plan the sooner you get on track towards success. Writing out your plan will help you to take care of the little details that otherwise might be forgotten. I can’t tell you how many times an athletes day has gotten off to a bad start simply because they forgot to set the alarm, so they had to rush, rush, rush, didn’t have time for the refreshing, relaxing shower and missed breakfast too now mymindisspinningandveerythingisrunningtogether………Get the picture? Oh, ya, and it was dad’s fault cause he forgot to set it, hey wait, no, it was YOUR responsibility to take care of your own plan! OK, OK, no problem. Dad will go out and get you something to eat while you warm up. But wait! Dad, you have to sharpen my skates right after warm up and you won’t be back in time! Dang, I knew we should have sharpened them last night. Do you have my water bottle? No, I thought you brought it. Oh, dear!!!!!! 
The competition plan can help you to take care of the little, but important, details such as these as well as helping you to think through and write out warm up plans and race plans. Writing things out help to make it clearer for you and helps you to commit to really following the plan.

This sample competition plan might help you to think  of some things you might want to put in your competition plan.

You can download a blank form to start writing your own plan by clicking here.

Good Luck and Happy Skating!