Here is a quick 5 step guide to goal setting for your athletes.
I am using the acronyms S-M-A-R-T:
- Specific. Drill down to the specific by asking the W-5: who, what, where, when, & why. (Sidenote: How many Canadians remember the TV show “W5”?) i.e. Who do you need to make your goals happen? What do you need? Where do you need to go? Relocate to a new city for the best coach?
- Measurable. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. This is why I use the Freelap and why I do testing every 4 or 8 weeks on the track and in the weight room!
- Attainable. What attitudes, abilities, skills and financial capacity do you need to achieve it? Until you get Carded (in Canada), you make zilch in meet winnings, appearance fees, and sponsorships. So make sure your goals are attainable with the right considerations. Moving to Los Angeles and joining John Smith’s HSI camp in wonderful, but can you afford the club fees and living expenses?
- Realistic. A goal has to be realistic. Set it too high and you are living in the bubble. Then again, in Asafa Powell’s first year at the track, he ran 11.45 (-2.3 m/s wind) as a 17 year old! Imagine if the coaches brushed him aside! He ran 10.50 the following year (as an 18 year old), followed by 10.02 then finally 9.87 in 2004.
- Timely. The goal must have a time limit. Saying or singing “Some day” is not good enough (unless you are a Glass Tiger fan!) Give yourself 4 years to structure a training plan and realize it may take up to 8 years of serious training to make to the Elite level (though don’t tell that to Kirani James!)
So those are the 5 steps I use for goal setting, at the track, and everything else in life.
The 5 Vowels of Coaching
If I was playing Wheel of Fortune, I want to buy the vowels A E I O U.
Because this is my coaching mantra. And this should be yours as well when you read a manual from any of the coaching greats who have produced world record athletes.
In fact, at the beginning of every article and training manual, I want these 5 words printed on top: