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A work session for the SA Junior Sailing Team, February 2003 Presented by: Gordon Miles M.A. (Clin Psy) e-mail: gmiles@icon.co.za

Have you ever thought about goal setting in life and in your sailing? Terry Orlick in his book “In pursuit of excellence” (2000) writes, “Where your mind goes everything follows.” For me, this about sums up the importance of goal setting in sport. If a person is not able to imagine doing something, the possibility of actually doing that thing does not exist. For example, if you were not able to imagine yourself playing tennis you would not be here today. In a way our entire lives can be seen as a series of goal directed behaviors. Some of these goals are so small and commonplace that we don’t even notice them as goals. Others are larger and much more visible. Some people go as far to say that we are not able to live if we do not have goals.

1. What is a goal?
• A goal can most simply be described as some “thing” or “state” that is wanted in the future and for which some kind of action is required to attain this “thing” or “state”.

2. What is goal setting?
• Goal setting is the act of choosing the goal(s) that you want . Almost always this involves putting in place a plan of action to achieve that goal. Often this plan may consist of smaller sub-goals. Nick Bollettieri, a tennis coach who has coached players such as Agassi, Seles, Kournikova, Becker, Pierce, Haas and Courier talks about SMART Goals: 1. S – goals should be selective. Carefully choose your goals don’t waste time and energy on goals you don’t really want. 2. M – goals should be measurable. Make sure you will be able to monitor your progress. 3. A – goals should be attainable. You must be realistic about what you want to achieve. 4. R – goals should be relevant. Make sure your goals will assist you to achieve what you want to achieve. 5. T - goals must be time limited. Set yourself definite target date to do what you want to do.



3. Activity:
Allow me to ask you what seems to many people an obvious question (you may want to scribble down some of the answers you think of, or that other people give) : “How do you win a race?”

4. Immediate, short term and long term goals
It is really important to distinguish between immediate goals,short term goals and long term goals. Immediate goals could be focussing on the next shot you are going to play, relaxing your body and breathing between points, controlling the impact of the distractions around you. Short term goals could be mastering a certain skill, doing quality work, getting adequate rest, or completing a specific training program by the end of the week or month. Long term goals may be improving your overall mental game or attitude, mastering a particular routine or program, excelling in your particular age group, deciding on the performance level you want to attain, achieving a personal best in a competition by the end of the year or the next.

5. Activity:
Have a go at some practical goal setting. Turn to page 4 and see what you come up with.

6. Staying focussed on your goals:
The following pointers may help you to stay focussed on the goals that you have set for yourself: • • • Have a vision – know where you want to go with your sport. Write down your goals (short and long term) including the plan and time frame you have set to achieve them. Stay committed – be clear about how much you really want to achieve that goal. Believe in yourself – know that you have the ability to arrive at your desired destination.

3 • • • Stay closely connected – take it one step at a time. Review your progress – keep a daily journal or training log in which you can write down what you have done to move closer to your goal. Call on one or two other special people to help you attain your goals (e.g. your coach, a mentor, a parent, or older brother/sister).

• Keep enjoyment and fun at the center of your sailing. Life is too short to waste on doing things that you don’t enjoy.


WPTA Training Camp
Name:________________________ Date:_______________

Think of one thing with regard to your sailing that you want to achieve and compete the following in a SMART way:

1. By _______________________ I want to have achieved the following goal (Selective):

2. I will be able to monitor my progress by (Measurable):

3. I know I can achieve this because (Attainable):

4. It will assist my game for me to achieve this because (Relevant):

5. I want to achieve this by (Time limit):


I am going to tell the following people about my goal:


I am going to ask the following people to help me achieve my goal:

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