Having a goal is always the starting point and it can help you to pinpoint your strengths and
As the winter break melts away and term 3 begins so does the approach of summer and the swim season. The winter break is a great half time break for both school and swimming. As the warmer weather begins to draw closer, so too a fresh-eyed wonder of new beginnings.
The start of a new season is often looked at with fear because it rings bells of short rest sets, cold water and the pain of getting back into shape! However, out of the rest and recuperation of the winter break comes the energy to assess one’s strengths and weakness.
At the start of last season, I set out to better balance my nutrition during the day to provide the fuel I need for training, to improve my starts and to sharpen my focus so that I could hold my technique and form more consistently. As I reflect on that one goal and what I was hoping a better daily nutrition intake would benefit, I am pleased to find that I am definitely making positive gains in my training, my starts and my focus.
The greatest gift of goal setting for me is heightened self-awareness. It encourages me to be honest with myself and dive deep into what is or isn’t working for me in my quest to be a better swimmer. My current realisation is that I need to be more patient – both when I race and out of the pool – and I need to find more happiness outside of the pool to complement and optimise my life balance.
Goal setting is not all about bettering your weaknesses but can also be a way of solidifying your strengths.
For me hard work in the pool and around training has been a pillar for me. It is something I’ve always been able to fall back on, it’s what gets me back from injuries and what gives me confidence to race. In saying that I’d like to turn my hard work into smarter work. Working hard in smaller bouts to optimise results. That could be as simple as not using my phone in the evenings, to help make sleep more beneficial and waking up easier.
I’ve found that goal setting is best used in small doses. Setting smaller tasks that are more manageable, rather than always placing a massive goal up in the stars. Getting started is always the hard part. Term 3 might still be a little cold but if you build your confidence slowly it can become routine.
The Artemis Centre facilities offer a great escape from the many large cold outdoor pools that inhabit Melbourne’s suburbs. The invitation of the warm water and the after-school hours fight back the trepidation of the cold. The beauty of term 3 is going back is in the knowledge that things can start fresh.
The new season is a chance to sit down and reflect on the effort and results of the past and use them to gather goals and accomplishments you want to achieve at seasons end. Goal setting is a major part of competitive swimming, but it’s not limited to the competitive arena. Being able to set out an end target encourages you to think through how you are going to achieve it.
Having a goal is always the starting point and it’s also the fire that burns the strongest and longest. As we find our way back into the water in the next few weeks, take time to sit down alone, with a peer, a coach or trusted friend, and think about what you’d like to achieve this season.