Goal Setting is a critical step in the development of an effective Strength + Conditioning program. I not sure why, but I have a compulsive need to put in some cliché here about “failing to plan, is planning to fail”. So there we are, that happened. Clichés aside having a clear vision about what it is that you want to achieve is critical to starting the program planning process. The reason is simple and that is without a clear goal, our effort can lack direction, purpose and at times can detract from what we are trying to achieve.
Goal Setting Process
When goal-setting, I typically separate my goals into two broad types. The first is the big picture, pie in the sky goal. As we did in our last post I am going to use the development of my program as a template. So here it is, my pie in the sky goal, “Win the 2021 Australian Masters Rowing Championships 1x”. It’s big, it’s bold, it’s not necessarily likely but what the hell, go big or go home. From this overarching, big picture goal we make smaller goals, which in turn we use to determine, obstacles, and actions. The aim here is to break our pie in the sky goal to practical actionable steps. As you can see from the table below if you start with the big goal, you will then end up with actions that if themselves are two large will form new smaller goals, sounds weird I know but you will see what I mean below. The intent here is to break the larger goal into smaller steps so that you end up with a list of actions that you are able too, well, act on.
Below is a short example of a goal-setting, or planning worksheet that I use myself and with my athletes:
You will see that this table is far from complete, but you get the picture. Often, one goal may have many obstacles, and each obstacle will often require multiple actions. When completing this you will often end up with what feels like an insurmountable list of actions. Don’t be tempted to quit and pour a glass of wine. Don’t quit, but maybe poor the wine. It is important to remember that these actions are not to be completed all at once. Indeed the whole point of planning is to ensure that we prioritise how we achieve each of this sub-goals in an effective order. Planning of training plan is done to build physical attributes in a sequence that maintains existing qualities and builds new capacity. This concept of Phase Potentiation is discussed in more in our post on the Scientific Principals of Training.
My final bit of advice is to spend the time to do this well. Stick it on the wall, edit and re-edit it. This is the start of your road map to how you achieve your big pie in the sky goal. In the next two steps for benchmarking and testing, we will return to this and continue to build it as a resource to keep you on track. Happy training, Michael