Every athlete wants to excel, but the will to
excel is insignificant without the will to prepare to excel. Preparation
is where many athletes fail. Most are willing to put in hours on
top of hours of training, but almost no time is devoted to planning
or record keeping. This planning (and tracking) is essential, because
planning is the first step to achieving any goal - including those
accomplished in athletics. Your vision of where you want to be –
your goal – is your greatest asset. A goal without a plan
is just a wish. Knowing how and understanding why past training
and peaking has influenced your performances (record keeping) makes
attaining these goals a practice in reality.
Goals should be as objective as possible (measurable
and performance-oriented), as specific as possible (performance
and time-sensitive), and above all realistic to your level of athletic
and competitive abilities. Keeping your season goals to two or possibly
three major goals will help streamline your focus and simplify your
training and regenerative efforts. The following goal is a specific
example of what a season goal of a highly skilled athlete might
-Achieve a best time in the 50 yd. freestyle in
competition by January 15.-
(Current best time of 20.10 in 50 yd. freestyle)
Write your goals down and put them in a conspicuous place, like
by the bathroom mirror or on the fridge, so that you’ll see
them often. Keep a copy in your training bag, as well, so you are
reminded of your goals at practice. This will be a frequent reminder
of your precise competitive desires, and as you’ll see below,
of the how and why you planned on achieving them.
The methods and training objectives needed to
attain your season goals are listed next. These again should be
as objective, specific and realistic as possible. Methods listed
can be complex or simple, just be sure to match your methods to
your season goals. Daily training methods and objectives can vary
greatly from day-to-day, but should also fall in line with your
season goals. Training methods are the “how” to get
to your goals. Training objectives are the performance markers on
the road to your goals. They are the specific values, aspects of
fitness, and/or the performances needed to achieve your season goals.
The following are examples of two training methods and a training
objective that supports the previous athlete’s goal mentioned.
-Include max speed work in practices at a volume
of 600m per week.-
-Include extra quality kicking each day to equal
at least 1000 yds. per week.-
-Swim 50 free in practice in less than 21 seconds
by December 15.-
Motivations are the “why” you are doing the training
and striving toward your goals. Again, this could be as simple as
“To be the best in the State,” or a complex, layered,
psychological explanation. It is most important that your motivation
has meaning for YOU. Use your motivations to keep your training,
regeneration, and competition efforts inspired.
Space is provided at the bottom of your goal
sheet for your ultimate goal. Perhaps this is the same as your season
goal, perhaps two or three years down the road – whichever,
it will help you keep an eye toward the future and what you ultimately
envision for yourself in your sport.
Daily training or practice goals are extremely
useful in reaching your season goals and objectives. They are the
“baby steps” on your way to your larger goals. Practice
goals can vary from day-to-day, and are highly individual, so be
sure that your practice goals are in line with your season goals.
Have the attitude of a Champion.
Practice and behave as though you were already where you want to