Big dreams take serious goal making and a great deal of patience in order to get there. Putting things on a calendar or jotting down what you want to make happen aren’t enough to create the success that many young people and their families are looking for when they step into a fencing club. Those big goals – the really high ones like dreams of competing at Summer Nationals or even the Olympics – will stay out of reach without strategic and sensible goals.
But how do you start?
Getting Started with Long Range Fencing Goals
Before you do anything, stop and decide how you’re going to document this process. Oftentimes we think that documenting is not important and not necessary, that we can keep anything in the head and who needs this paperwork anyway? The truth is that documenting means commitment. You verbalize the goal, put it on paper and visualized it. You created a commitment with yourself. Goals in the head are adjustable and changeable based on the current situation and condition, while written goals on the paper are not so much. It is a much bigger form of commitment when you put it down, even if you don’t ever show it to anyone. Also, when we are faced with the necessity to document our goals we will put much more thought into the process and to what we really want to achieve.
The goals that you’re making and working through are things that you’re going to want to be able to look back on, because keep in mind that the goals that we’re talking about are six months to a year out or even longer.
The format and the media for such documenting is not really important. Whatever works for you, be it a spreadsheet, google doc, binder or school spiral notebook, use it! In the modern world many people prefer electronic documents, but if you are more comfortable with old “tangible” format – go for it.The biggest thing to keep in mind is that you’re going to need to be able to come back to these, so make sure that whatever format it is must be one that you’ll be able to access later. Also remember that you’re going to want to look at these goals often, and that they will change as needs and ideas change.
Which brings us to another good point – it’s okay to alter goals. These aren’t set in stone, nothing in life is! Should you or your child decide at some point that it’s time to change directions, feel free to do that – without guilt or remorse.
Now that you’re ready to get started, we’ll go through the four kinds of goals that you’ll need in order to target those long term, big dreams.
When you set goals, you’ll find that it all works better when you set them in the a specific format. Check out Setting Fencing Competition Goals that Fit into Your Lifestyle to review SMART goal making and why it’s important that your goals are SMART!
A Roadmap for Effective Goal Setting
Now’s the time for the real fun! Get out that goal book or pull up your computer and start putting it all down in writing. If you’re doing this with your child, be sure to do it with your child. They’ll need to be part of the process in order to be invested in it.
You’re going to start from the top down when making goals, but then achieving them comes from the bottom up.
1. The BIG Goal
Here’s where we put that big one, the long term dream that you’re aiming for. This one goes right at the top of the page. This is the thing that will help you or your child to stay motivated, so pictures are a good idea. Also put that big goal in lots of places to push that motivation – on the fridge, in the locker, as the background on the phone, everywhere.
This is a great goal to speak to your coaches about, because you might not even be familiar with the possibilities!
2. Long Term Supporting Goals
Once you’ve determined the BIG goal, now it’s time to make some serious long term goals. These really offer you a time to check in and see how things are going. You might set a long term goal for six months as a mid point for a year long goal. Some examples of the areas to think about long term supporting goals are:
- regional or national competition attendance
- specific point accumulation in pursuit of making Nationals/the July Challenge
- advancement to the new group level
- ask your coach about what your long term goals should be!
3. Short Term Supporting Goals
These are much shorter and offer milestones between right now and those long term goals. Attaining these goals is part of what keeps an athlete on track, and they might include things like:
- local competition attendance
- specific technique mastery
- special training (camps, etc.)
- learning about the point system for competition
- ask your coach about what your short term goals should be!
4. Daily Goals
Daily goals are really the driving force behind the process. These don’t have to be daily necessarily, but they are the things that are very regular and that happen repeatedly.
- class attendance
- class focus goals
- physical fitness goals
- technique practice
- checking goals!
- ask your coach about what your daily goals should be!
The Dynamic Duo – Training Goals and Competition Goals
Something that you’ll notice about these goals is that there are TWO kinds of goals within each set:
- Training Goals
- Competition Goals
Training goals and competition goals are like a matched pair, two halves of a whole. It’s essential for you (or your child) to have BOTH kinds of goals in order to find success. Without competition goals, you’re never going to be able to advance smartly, and you might well find yourself doing things within competition that are unnecessary or even detrimental. Without training goals, technique and performance don’t improve. Again, you’ve got to have both kinds in order to be successful!
A Final Thought on Fencing and Goal Setting
Whether fencing is wholly new to you or you’ve been around the strip for a long time, this process is amazingly helpful. It’s not only effective, but it also makes you feel good! Setting short term and long term goals lets you or your child feel this incredible sense of accomplishment, and also to understand a very intrinsic way how long term accomplishments happen. They don’t seem so big when you take small bites!