Setting Smart Goals

Posted on Mar 8, 2017 in Motivation, Practices, Wrestlers

Setting SMART goals is the first step to creating an effective off-season improvement plan. It’s impossible to plan a trip if you don’t know your destination but many wrestlers approach their off-season without and specific goals in mind. Starting your journey with a clear destination and milestones is the best way to make sure you don’t get lost along the way.

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of SMART goal setting, there are a couple pre-requisites.

  1. Make sure the goals are YOUR goals. If they are your parents’ goals for you or your coach’s goals, this isn’t going to work. eek advice and input from the people that support you but make sure the final goals are coming from your heart and you are bought in 100%
  2. Write your goals down, post them where you see them often and say them out loud. Writing them, reading them and saying them will make your goals real for you.

Here are some examples of SMART goals a wrestler might set for himself or herself.

I will win a State Championship next season.

I will squat 2x my body weight before next season.

I will be a Fargo Freestyle All-American by the end of my High School career.

SMART Goals have 5 characteristics. They are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Let’s look at our first example: I will win a State Championship next season.

  • It’s very specific. The expectations are crystal clear
  • It’s measurable. The wrestler either wins the State Championship or does not
  • It’s attainable. This part of goal setting can be tricky. You want to aim high but not so high that you don’t really believe it’s possible. This is a great place to bounce ideas off coaches, peers and parents.
  • It’s relevant. Considering we are talking about wrestling, this goal is definitely that.
  • It’s timely. This goal has a definite timeline associated with it – next season.

As you sit down and map out your goals for the future you’ll find some of them feed into each other. For example, A goal of squatting 2x your body weight could be an important milestone on your way to winning a State Championship next season. It’s important to build levels and details into your goal setting so you know exactly how you are going to reach that final destination.

If your overall goal is to win a State Championship next season and one of your intermediate goals is to squat 2x your body weight at the start of the season, you need a roadmap of how to achieve that goal. Here are examples of the kind of detail you will create to reach that intermediate goal:

  • I will work with the school strength coach to perfect my squat form in 1 month
  • I will follow my lower body strength plan 2x every week
  • I will write down the weight I use during every workout so I can continually improve
  • I will test my max squat every 6 weeks to track my progress

Based on this example, you can build out an entire plan to help you reach your important goals for next season and beyond. The big goals will have a number of intermediate goals or milestones that feed into them. And the intermediate goals will have their own detailed plans for how you will achieve them.

Remember, these are your goals. Embrace them, feed them, nurture them and you will achieve great things. Also, don’t be afraid to adjust your plan or change your goals along the way. If you find yourself getting off track, review your plan and make changes as needed.

Stay tuned for the next article with information about off-season strength and nutrition planning.