Whether you’re looking to better your race time, increase your distances, or simply dedicate a few more hours a week to training, setting specific, measurable swimming goals will help you achieve your ambitions.
Not only will it give your adult swimming training direction and purpose but provide motivation and drive as you work to hit targets. Plus, anyone will tell you that achieving your goals will give you a massive confidence boost and sense of accomplishment!
When it comes to setting and achieving your swimming goals, make sure you’re SMART:
Make sure your goals are super specific! While it may be tempting to set broad goals such as ‘I want to swim faster’, these are incredibly difficult to measure and track your progress.
Instead, start by thinking exactly what it is you want to achieve and write it down. For example: I want to under-water dolphin kick the full 15 meters on every lap of the 100 backstroke; I want to maintain my arm speed and stroke rate in the last lap of the race; I want to swim 60 lengths of breaststroke a week. Whatever it is you want to achieve, make it specific.
M – Measurable
When you’re planning your goals, you need to think about how you can break them down into smaller, measurable chunks so you’ll be able to track your progress and keep yourself motivated.
A good idea is to work backwards from a long-term goal and set milestones for along the way. Once you’ve set a goal, you can break it down and think exactly what you’re going to do to achieve it on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. For example, if your goal is to improve your current breaststroke 100m time by 10 seconds, plan exactly how you’re going to do this.
Setting smaller, measurable goals you can track weekly will help keep you motivated and focused as you meet and cross them
A – Attainable
Make sure you are setting realistic goals, so you avoid disappointment. For instance, if you’re still relatively new to swimming, don’t aim to win your first competition. Rather focus on beating your own PB, slowing improving your times and distances.
Remember that you can still push yourself while making sure you aim for something achievable. Your goals don’t have to be extreme, it could be as simple as committing to doing some extra core work in the gym a few times a week; cutting back on your drinking; entering a certain amount of swimming competitions a year. Set attainable goals in line with your abilities.
R – Relevant
When you’re setting smaller goals, make sure they’re all relevant to your long-term, larger goal. Whether that’s improving your fitness, losing weight, working on a better swimming style etc. Make sure everything ties together to contribute towards achieving this.
T – Timely
Make sure you set specific deadlines for your swimming goals. Give yourself enough time to comfortably achieve what you want to, allowing a bit of wiggle room for any unexpected set-backs, but be sure to give yourself a deadline. This will help to keep you motivated, putting the right amount of pressure on you.
Once you’ve thought about your SMART goals, write them down with their deadlines and specific details. Keep this somewhere where you see it daily – checking it regularly, cross off what you’ve done and tracking your achievements and your progress.
Don’t get discouraged when you don’t meet your goals. The whole process should be about learning what works best for you.