1st Edition

A Constraints-led Approach to Figure Skating Coaching

By Garrett Lucash Copyright 2023
    180 Pages 28 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    180 Pages 28 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Motor skill acquisition and athlete development practices are rapidly evolving. Positioned at the forefront of this evolution, the constraints-led approach encourages practitioners to consider the athlete as a whole person, with unique traits, abilities, and capacities. Accordingly, an athlete’s competitive success lies in the practitioner’s ability to adapt programming to the unique needs of each athlete and to facilitate the athlete-environment relationship.

    A Constraints-led Approach to Figure Skating Coaching applies contemporary motor skill acquisition and athlete development practices to figure skating. The book encourages coaches to think about why they coach, the athletes they want to support, and the goals they want their program to achieve. It informs coaches how to transform these core considerations into the driving inspiration for their daily coaching practices including assessment methods, the coach-athlete relationship, practice structure, competition preparation, and conceptions of technique. The lessons here are founded on the constraints-led approach. They are personal, yet broadly inclusive to the global sports programming market.

    The book is written through a ‘conversive’ voice and is accessible to a broad audience interested in athlete development and programming such as coaches, athletes and parents. At the same time, academics and students in the areas of sport coaching, biomechanics, motor skill acquisition, strength and conditioning, and related disciplines will find interest in the insights provided from this underrepresented niche in sports.

    Introduction: Reflection Illuminates the Way Forward

    1. Breaking the Ice: An Introduction to Figure Skating

    2. A Traditional Approach to Figure Skating Coaching

    3. A constraints-led Approach to Figure Skating Coaching

    4. Environment Design Principles

    5. Stages of Skill Adaptation in Figure Skating

    6. Reflection and Assessment

    7. A CLA for Learning to Figure Skate

    8. A CLA and the Developing Figure Skater

    9. A CLA and Expert Figure Skating

    10. Epilogue: A CLA from Expert Coaches


    Garrett Lucash is a U.S. figure skating champion, International medalist, and three-time World Team member. He is a National Development Team coach (USA), the Chair of the PSA Sport Science Committee, and a member of U.S. Figure Skating’s Sport Science and Medicine Committee. As an athlete, Garrett trained under some of the most successful coaches in figure skating history and alongside dozens of elite athletes from all over the world including Olympic and World champions. He attended and presented at numerous coaches and judges seminars as an athlete and a coach, attended numerous sport science training camps, and guest lectured at Boston College. In 2018, Garrett co-founded Athlete Centered Skating, a holistic figure skating program that supports the individual needs of its athletes and develops learning skills within its curriculum. The Athlete Centered Skating methodology is derived from a constraints-led approach. Garrett’s writing appears in Dynamics of Skill Acquisition vol.2 (Human Kinetics, publisher), and he has written numerous articles for Skating magazine and The Professional Skater magazine. He has also written continuing education courses for the PSA, the official coaches’ education and accreditation association for figure skating coaches in the United States.