If you do not have a goal, then why are you swimming? Do you enjoy the social aspect of it? Perhaps you just want to stay healthy or just want to be able to swim to save your life? Those are great reasons, but if you are someone who swims because they want to be fast on top of all that, then you must have goals so you have something to strive for. Heck, even if you are swimming to lose weight or be healthy you still need goals!
Goal setting shifts your attention and energy into how much and how hard you practice.
- You should have a general statement of intent (I want to obtain a Jr. National cut)
- You should have performance goals (I want to do better then I did last time in this race)
- You should have process goals: a “how to” guide to obtain the goals (practice attendance, working hard, eating right, lifting weights, getting proper sleep, etc)
- You should also set specific goals (I want to go 54.6 in the 100 breaststroke)
- You should set long term (obtain a college scholarship) and short term (get a AA time next month) goals
- You should set challenging, but realistic goals; but, then again, do not sell yourself short ( Realistic: you go 1:05 in the 100 Backstroke and want to go 1:02 in 6 months; Unrealistic: you go 1:05 in the 100 Backstroke and want to go :51.9 in 6 months)
- You should write your goals down and look at them on a regular basis (taped to your bathroom mirror works really well!)
- You should adjust your goals when perhaps you have overshot or undershot your first set of goals (perhaps you broke your leg and did not swim for 8 weeks OR you have come to every practice offered and swam faster than you originally had thought early in the season)
- You should set small goals in practice every day (I want to hold 1:06 or faster for all these 10x100s on 1:15 and then the next time your goal should be to hold faster than 1:06 OR complete more on 1:06 than you did last time!)
Next Up: Focus & Concentration!