Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Beginning of Goal Setting

When we start our season we communicate directly with our team in a team meeting and follow the topic up by sending an electronic copy of our meeting notes. This way we have made every attempt to make sure each swimmer has seen and or heard our pitch. The following letter is a sample of what we are looking for in the way of feedback and information from them. You will tailor it to your individual situation to make it relevant. This letter is to our Senior team but the same could be done in a scaled down version to an age group program or high school team. Make certain that the parents are copied so they will know what you are asking for.

Even if you are a Masters swimmer or a fitness athlete this same process works. It is critical to the eventual success of your goals to begin with some sort of self diagnostic tool. Everyone wants to jump right to the goal setting part. We'll cover some specific ideas about that next week but for today see if this makes sense to you. Please feel free to comment and critique. We always want to learn!

Dear Swimmers,

As we look forward to our next season we, your coaches, are really excited about the direction of the Senior team. We had a wonderful season with virtually all members improving, some in spectacular fashion.

When we - meaning you the swimmers and us the coaches - look at the make up of our team we can pretty much see all swimmers on one of four paths. The paths look like this to us:

  • Path 1 = Competing effectively at the National level

  • Path 2 = Qualifying for National meets while competing effectively at the Sectional level

  • Path 3 = Qualifying for Sectionals and learning to be comfortable at that level

  • Path 4 = Swimming effectively at the high school level as well as competing at Senior Meets while working on Sectional qualifying

All 4 paths are valid and welcome on our team. Not everyone has the desire, the time or the willingness to compete in the National spotlight. That being said, for those of you who do want to see how far you can get and have all the tools necessary to get there, we want to know about it so as coaches we can help you achieve your goals. We can also help in making your goals in the pool be in sync with what you are willing and or able to put onto it. For instance, wanting to compete effectively at the National level but only training 3 or 4 times a week due to other commitments or interests would be an example of goals and commitment not being in sync. Playing another sport or taking a long vacation at an important juncture of the season would be another element in helping determine what you want to attain in swimming and needs to be considered.

We are asking you to define your intention. Which path are you currently on? To which path do you aspire? (You can ALWAYS change your intention, your declaration). Our intention is to help you achieve what you desire, to get where you want to go. This is an exercise in helping you get where you want to be. It rarely, if ever, works for us to tell you what we think you should do, especially if you are not able or willing to put in the time and effort. If you watched any of the Olympic coverage, any sport, the athletes you saw got there because they wanted it. It is ultimately not possible to achieve someone else's goals for you. It is always possible to achieve yours.

Every single swimmer on our team is important to us; we mean EVERY swimmer. Our task, indeed our mission in life, is to assist you in reaching your declared level of aspiration. It is really that simple.

So please tell us, which path are you currently on?

If you have greater aspirations, a different path, tell us that as well.

We honor all swimmers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very nice piece, guys!
Thrilled to see you actively back in coaching, Don. And, what a coaching team - Ken's magic with developing young swimmers & and Don's unsurpassed abilities to make training the mind FUN...
I'll visit this site often.

Yours In Swimming,
Gregg Tye - Florida