Summer swim season is coming to a close and you are enjoying some much needed time to relax outside of the pool. Whether you did amazing in your swim season or did not do as well as you had hoped in your long course season there are plenty of ways to prepare yourself for the next year. How do you prepare yourself for a new year, new you and new season of swimming?

As athletes we have crazy schedules so it can be hard to sit down and find the time to set goals, but this is something that is so important to do before the season even starts. So on your break before school starts in the next few weeks this is the best time to start thinking about the things you want to improve upon in the upcoming season and school year. Lucky for many college athletes who are able to meet with their teams to set individual and team goals. If you are not one of those athletes or need some help with preparing for a new season and new you here are some tips to keep your goals successful in the upcoming season.

What are goals and why is it important to set goals? Goals are your desired results that you and your team are committed to achieving in a specific timeframe. It is important to set goals because they can help us move forward in life and give us a map to follow. There are behavioral and outcome driven goals. Outcome goals are performance goals such as “I want to go 59.8 seconds in my 100 backstroke.” This is a great goal but you also have to make a behavioral goal in order to be successful in achieving your time goal. A behavioral goal is that task you need to perform many times in order to make your goal achievable. For example, “I will kick 10 dolphin kicks off every wall every day in practice and after doing this during every practice you are more likely to reach your goal time of 59.8 seconds in your 100 backstroke. 

When setting goals it is important to set attainable goals while also resisting goals that may be too easy to reach. Once you have figured out what your goals for the season are going to be, write the goals down and put these goals somewhere you can see them everyday. For example, you can print the goals document out and paste it on your swim locker. Something else that you can do that will make you even better is to tell someone what your goal is in order to hold yourself accountable. You can share your goals with your teammates, coaches or even family members. Just by doing these simple steps your goals will be more genuine and more attainable.

Here are some more tips when thinking about achieving your goals:

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Be a good teammate.
  • Learn to control the controllables.
  • Come to practice with a goal in mind.
  • Do something little each day to make you better in the long run.
  • Journal how you are feeling to get your thoughts down on paper or one thing you did well in practice.
  • Don’t always focus on the time that you want, but the technique you can be working on.
  • Set short term goals along the way of your long term goals. Behavioral vs. Outcome Goals.
  • Find a hobby or something you like to do outside of school and swimming to help decrease your stress levels and calm your mind.

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