The Training to Compete stage of development is the stage of development is a continuation of the Learning to Compete stage of development where skaters have committed to the high performance pathway. The emphasis on training is on preparation for competition and programming is becoming increasingly personalised. Skaters continue to train to consolidate their technical and tactical abilities and build their physical capacities.
Skaters in the Learning to compete stage of development are entering college or university and will generally be training in a Regional or National Training Centre program. Skaters have committed to a high-volume and high-intensity training throughout the year and are closely monitored by coaches and members of an integrated support team (IST). Only a portion of the skaters who entered the Learning to Compete stage of development will enter this stage as this is the stage where athlete definitively commit to the high performance pathway. It is however possible for skaters to remain training at the volume and intensity of the Learning to Compete stage and engage in the training required for the training to compete stage at a later date.
It should be noted that all objectives of the “Learning to Compete” stage must be achieved before the objectives of “Training to Compete” can begin. Instruction in topics such as nutrition, sport psychology, recovery and regeneration, injury prevention, and injury management also become very important and are supported by interventions by subject matter experts.
Formal competition becomes more prominent in annual periodized training, competition and recovery plans, and includes major national and international events. The choice of competitions is managed by the coach, looking to strike an appropriate balance between gaining experience and ensuring sufficient time for training. For Junior ages athletes, the focus will be on World Junior Championships and events which lead to qualification for this event, while senior aged athletes will focus on Canadian Championships and events which lead to qualification for international events.
Train to Compete athletes are not the average community sport program participant. They committed athletes with recognized talent who have chosen an elite pathway that few others pursue. Skaters will by seeking qualification to national and international level competitions and selection to provincial and national development teams.
Tapering means reducing both intensity and volume in training as athletes approach the date of major competition events. Tapering allows athletes to peak for major competitions, ensuring that they will perform at their best.