I have read a ton of articles on this recently, and this is a compilation of different things I have read into one piece.
- Focus on the right things at the right time
- Become more confident
- Identify the steps that you need to take to the end of the high school season
Types of Goals
There are different types of goals; relating Outcome, Performance and Process; and each is important in its own way.
Outcome Goals relate to things like your placing in a race, ranking, or qualifying for State. Outcome Goals are useful and important, because really they are why you get up and come to practice. However, setting outcome goals alone can be dangerous and lead to anxiety, stress and problems with confidence because you cannot control outcomes. No matter how well you swim, someone might go faster.
In swimming, Performance Goals pretty much equate to your time. This is the ‘how well have I done overall?’, question. In practice, it might be your average time on a test set, for example, how far you’ve swum this week or how many sessions you’ve swum.
Performance goals are better for your end of season goals, than outcomes, because you can control those. So, if you want to qualify for a championships or team, it’s better to focus on the time that you need to do.
Process goals are the components of your performance. In competition then, if you want to break a minute for 100 freestyle, what are the critical aspects of the swim?
If performance goals are WHAT you want to achieve, process goals are the HOW you will go about achieving them.
Each step of the process we should make the Goals follow the S.M.A.R.T process.
- Specific – For example, rather than “improve my turns”, what do you want to improve about them?
- Measurable – This is easy for performance goals, but can be less easy for process goals. If you really can’t measure them, perhaps you could set yourself a scoring system (e.g. for your attitude)
- Achievable – Goals should be tough, or they’re not motivating, but not out of reach, or they are equally useless
- Relevant – Try to focus on the 3-5 things that are going to make the biggest difference, rather than having a whole bucket load of trivial goals
- Time-bound – if you are trying to qualify for a team, this might be decided for you, but in most cases, you need to think about when you want to achieve the goal by (and set stepping stones)
Each of you should start by writing down your Outcome Goals on a piece of paper. It should be in detail. Example: To go 1:02 in the 100 Freestyle in my end of season meet.
Then transition from the Outcome Goal by creating three Performance Goals that will support the Outcome goal. Example: I will get plenty of sleep during the season each night, I will attend every practice in and out of the water, I will be going 1:05 by the end of September in the 100 Freestyle
These are the foundation of your Process Goals. These would read like this: In training, I will hold my streamline to the flags, my breakouts will be in perfect streamline, will continue the set without stopping.