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Smart goal setting for young swimmers

Swimmers & Parents

Encouraging your young swimmer to learn goal setting is to help in life not just in sport. In swimming, learning to set clear targets, priorities and expectations help improve performance and confidence, and increase motivation.

Meanwhile providing continuous focus and direction through goal setting will also help in other aspects of their life, such as exams. Goal setting could also help you as parents when trying to establish a morning routine for young swimmer, for example.

The importance of SMART goal setting

When setting goals, it’s important to have long term and short term goals, so that it’s possible to hit targets and milestones along the way.

Suggest your child works backwards from their long term goal, such as Qualifying for Nationals in 2017 or achieving 10 A-C GCSEs, to figure out the steps they need to make it there.

If the long term goal is qualifying for Nationals in 2017, consider what they need to do each day, each week and each month to ensure they achieve the goal. Also what times they need to hit and by when.

This goal setting is often called SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely.

  1. Specific – Make sure each goal is both clear and well defined i.e. ‘I want to break a minute for my 100m Free by January 2017’, rather than just ‘I want to get faster’.
  2. Measurable – Be sure to include times and dates, so that you can measure whether goals have been met and what progress has been made.
  3. Attainable – Each goal that gets set should be challenging, but realistic.
  4. Relevant – Every short term goal should fit in with the end goal or dream, and should act as stepping stones to success.
  5. Timely – Put a deadline on your goal. Make it clear exactly when the goal is aiming to be accomplished.

Don’t lose it, write it down

It’s really important that when you set a goal, you write it down – and write it somewhere you will see it regularly. This will not only help with motivation and focus, but also will help to celebrate successes and achievements.

Writing down the goal will also act as a reminder to say yes to the things that will help in achieving the goal, and turning down anything that may hinder success.