Goal Setting 5 – Setting goals can assist us to improve performance at training and competition

How Do Goals Impact On Our Performance At:

  1. Training
    Goal setting for train performance involves two elements. The planned goals which are methodically established and directly linked to the process plan and the unplanned goals which are created on the spot during the training performance.  The unplanned are the mini goals that are set by the swimmer and/or the coach during the session, which have the effect of stimulating the swimmer to strive for improvement.  Such goals are responsible for a great deal of the training stimulus and progression. They have an effect on the evaluation of the established process goals on a day-to-day basis.
  2. Competition
    The effects of setting competition goals has been discussed already in sufficient detail, however it must be reinforced that these goals are largely a reflection of how well the process has been adhered to during the various stages of the preparation.  Objective and accurate evaluation of these goals is imperative, because the interpretation as to how valid they were at the time of performance will have a bearing on the assessment of where the swimmer is at in their preparation and subsequently how they internalise the significance of their performance.  Competition goals serve the purpose of providing stepping stones to the final competition performance of the preparation, but they must be viewed by considering the current state of readiness of the swimmer to perform.
  3. Career Duration
    Setting of milestone goals provides us with a mechanism of bringing some clarity and perspective to the likely course our career might take, the time frames that may be involved and the sequence of events which may adversely affect or bolster performance.

This article is the 5th and final post on goal setting.  Our thanks to former Australian Head Coach Leigh Nugent for sharing the 5 parts with us.

Any parents of swimmers who would like to be a part of a swimming parent community with Leigh and the Gold Class Swimming team are invited to have a look at Swim Parent Advantage.

How Do Goals Affect Our Sense Of Achievement?

Achieving goals is important to our self-esteem and our belief in our self, which in turn feeds our optimism and our willingness to continue striving to achieve.

The process goals are the building blocks of continued achievement. These goals provide the points for progressive achievement along the route to the major ultimate goal. It is essential to have these mini-goals help us cope with the enormity of trying to achieve the final outcome.

Conquering each little step provides a sense of achievement and movement toward achieving the end result. Our sense of achievement is fuelled by reaching each spot in a continuous line of end points, which are realistically achievable along the way to achieving what might conceivably seem to be unachievable (“the ultimate goal.”), if it was viewed in isolation.

Important Information When Setting Goals

The knowledge of our own performances or our own history of performances and our rate of progress is a primary factor in setting our goals, that is why it is so important to record all of the information possible. In swimming we only have control over what we do, we don’t have control over others.

Goals are set based on our own historical record (past performances), the rate at which we achieve, the difficulty of what we would like to achieve and the time frame in which the achievements are to be made.

The bench marks that other people set are secondary but they may be useful in helping set standards for our self by providing insights to other’s performances and their rates of progress. Don’t be deterred or limited by what others have achieved; remember when they started their goals were also their fiction.

Setting Appropriate Goals

When we are young “the sky is the limit”. Unfortunately age, experience and education can have the effect of shrinking our optimism, which can also be described as realism or being realistic. This can turn us into people who have a “can’t do” rather than a “can do” mentality.

As we become older and become a more experienced competitor in our sport we come to position our selves (in regard to ability to perform) in relation to our competitors. This positioning can cause us to function in a negative way particularly in relation to goal setting where we in fact set goals lower than we are capable of.  These goals become the ceiling of achievement and are called “self limiting” goals. They have the effect of us performing to a limited amount of our capabilities when in reality we were able to achieve well beyond these levels.

We need to avoid this type of thinking and goal setting at all costs if we are to fully explore our real capabilities.

Satisfaction Through Process, Dissatisfaction With The Final Result

Dissatisfaction with the final result will only be short lived if we committed to the process because:-  lasting satisfaction comes from fulfilling the requirements of the process and striving to conquer the many goals along the way to achieving the final result.

Concluding Statements

Goal setting is a very personal and private process and the choice of what we reveal or share with others is totally our own.

Revelation of what we desire to achieve can create undue pressure on our self which may inhibit our ability to perform. Added to this it can fuel the desire of our opposition to out perform us.

• Goals are goals nothing more nothing less.
• They are tools to stimulate us to strive to achieve.
• They can be created, reinforced, changed or deleted.
• They are your private fiction waiting for you to convert them into your reality.
• In the end your reality is what you do, not what you think you might do.
• Goals are in part an educated guess of what you think you might be able to achieve, and in part a fantasy of what is your dream to achieve.
• Goal setting is inescapably connected to achievement.