I have a very narrow window this month to get some major changes happening here at ICC HQ while I have the very rare commodity of a daughter on hand to help move stuff around, reorganise the office and persuade me to part with things I’ll never need or use.

A natural procrastinator (that’s someone who just faffs and never gets stuff done) I often end up working in an untidy mess (well I know where things are!) and wishing I could be more organised.

It isn’t at all productive to be working from day to day, week after week with no fixed plan in mind. I know that because I had to stop doing that a long time ago when I was working for other people.  But when it’s just you… it’s very easy to just wander from task to task and stretch to the time available.

So what has this all got to do with skating?

Thank you for asking.  Well your progress in skating is just the same as in anything else. It doesn’t happen by itself, with no effort. Just like I need to get my shizzle on and set myself tasks and deadlines in order to get stuff done, you need to do the same with your skating.

Who knows when the competitions are? How to apply and what you’ll need to do to up your game since the last one?  Chances are, skaters are leaving this all up to the coaches and the parents. Well that’s fine to delegate when you’re busy but – as they say, “if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”

Like me, you need A PLAN. A goal for the end of the year, broken down into all the little mini steps you need to do to get you there.

A goal for each competition.

Do you know what you need in your programme to get enough points to give you a new personal best? What do you need to adjust, polish, work harder at, to achieve this?  When you have a patch session outside of your lessons, do you ‘faff’ or do you consciously think about what you are going to come away from that session with?  What will you be able to do better by the end of the session which you couldn’t do at the beginning?

You see, working on all these things and having a plan (a goal) in mind will help you to become more consistent. Being more consistent will give you confidence and having confidence will help you to get even better marks – because a confident skater makes fewer mistakes.  And all of this happens much more quickly than when you just leave things to chance.

What’s more, keeping track will also show you how far you have progressed.

If your sights are set on the national championships, what plan have you created? If qualifying is your goal then how many qualifying competitions are left? Which ones will you compete at? And what do you need to do to get those crucial qualifying scores? There will always be parts of your performance that can be tweaked and improved on – so now is the time to reflect on what you need to do and get those mini steps in place.

So next time you have a lesson, take along your planner and set some goals with your coach. Decide on the competitions you’ll do, work out what you need to polish to get some seriously good marks and set out your pathway to progress by making a list of the mini steps you need to follow down that path.

Finally, when you’ve finished the competition, take some time out to look at what went well, and what you would do differently next time. Chat with your coach about what needs tweaking for the next competition. Then “rinse and repeat”.