Sunday, October 2, 2011

Goal Setting at the Beginning of a New Season

The way our season is set up here in Northern California we have 4 training blocks. The Fall season is the most important in our eyes as it is the longest and therefore has the biggest chance for training our swimmers’ capacity for physiological change. It is also the beginning of the “Swim Year” 2011-2012 which is an Olympic Year which has a very significant impact on attention and focus. All coaches and swimmers, regardless of ability, can use this to boost their individual game, feeding upon the emotional charge of those aiming for London. Also, there are several swimmers who will make the US Team that no one is considering today here in early October. It happens every single time.

So, this is a perfect time to revisit the subject of goal setting. This is the handout that will go to our swimmers at North Bay Aquatics at tomorrow’s team meeting. See if there is something here that will help you; and as always, let us know how it is going for you!

Goal Setting Process

This is not the only way to work when setting your goals. It is, however, a proved process and we suggest you consider the steps before moving forward. You will need a paper and pencil and a little time. You can begin whenever you want, take a pause in the steps, and then return as time allows. We do know this for certain, no one in history has ever made a significant improvement – and retained it – without writing a goal down. Please, at the very least do that much.

Step One: Take Responsibility.

If you are not responsible for something you cannot change it so this is the first and most important step. For instance, if you want to break 2:00 in the 200 and to do so you will need to get into really good shape and have excellent technique, then you need to be responsible for that part of the process. No one is keeping you from doing that.

Step Two: Investigate and Eliminate.

You are going to ask yourself a few questions so here is where the paper and pencil come in handy.

1 – Ask yourself what it is you want. Write it down…sub 2 minutes for the 200.

2 – Ask, why I want this. Write it down…I want this because it will qualify me for the next big meet; it will improve my chances for being on the A relay; it will help my college prospects.

3 – This one may seem counterintuitive but it is very important. Ask yourself why you do NOT want this to happen. Now you may wonder about this one…but of course I want this, why wouldn’t I? Well, let’s consider this for a minute…Now the coaches will expect more from me; to really get this I will have to miss some social functions and those may actually be more fun; I’m not sure I want the pressure of competing at this faster level…

The point here is that there are going to be ramifications in your current life if you actually dig in and make a change – said another way, if you set a goal, work toward it and then achieve it your life will be different and you need to be ready for that difference.

The main purpose of this second step is to find what you want and to eliminate those things that will stand in your way.

Keep in mind that the number one thing people resist is change; even if it is for the better! This is not rocket science. The way to change anything in your life: 1 – eliminate what isn’t working for you and 2 – replace it with what you want.

If you know your stroke needs tuning up then simply do it…that is, work on the things you know need fixing. Ask one of us to help you. And then do it. Stop “trying” and start “doing”. Even if you are only able to do it correctly for a lap or two before you get tired. Start now and work forward from this point. Think about this sentence: It takes preparation and work to make a change, large or small, but it does not take time. It may take time for anyone to notice the change but it doesn’t take time to make the change.

So, get your pencil and paper out and start the process. Think about what you would like to have happen – short, mid and long term, as we discussed last week. Even you polo players can begin the process. And of course you can do this for your polo season as well.

Sooner than later we need you to turn in your goal sheets so we can look them over and share our feedback with you. This doesn’t need to happen today but it does need to happen. Spend some time thinking about why you want what you want and then some time why you may not want it. In the end, we need you to come up with a few goals that you are willing to work toward.

This season is going to be a very special one for our team, and that means for you. To capture the full opportunity we all need focus. Goals give us that focus; goals give each day meaning and purpose. Very few things match the satisfaction of a person who knows what she/he wants and is “willing and able” to execute the plan. We will help provide the “able”; you let us know about the “willing”.


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Simply News said...

Totally agree with how important goal setting is at the start of a new season. Helps you to focus your training and direct it on exactly what you want to achieve out of your racing and competitions.

Chris - Simply Swim
Competition Swimwear