“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”
Without S.M.A.R.T., hard work will only get you so far. Took me years of experimentation to realize that. To save you the time, money and energy I decided to share with you the foundations of good training.
I played a wide-range of competitive sports, but the focus was in ice-hockey.
I took it very seriously, and began every off-season completing a list of “Things To Do”.
The list would typically take over an entire page and consist of various traits; including both specific to sport and general athletic characteristics. I would even hire professional trainers to help me take my training further. I was a hard worker, and I loved that about myself, but little did I know that I was wasting more energy and time than needed.
That’s when I came across S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. is a method used to improve goal-setting. It can be used for a wide variety of applications; including business, education, politics and sports. Let’s stick with the sports.
It stands for:
Basically, these are the questions you should ask yourself before you set forth on a goal.
These guidelines can help you focus on what matters most, helping you avoid what will only waste time and energy.
When it comes to performance, this is a huge element that athletes and coaches should better understand.
Are you training S.M.A.R.T?
If you are anything like I was, you probably have in mind a dozen or more things you think you need to improve on. You probably believe you can get it all done too.
Be realistic with yourself and understand the more goals you have, the less likely you are to accomplishing any of them.
That is why it’s important to write down your goals, then apply the S.M.A.R.T. strategy.
Here is how:
How Specific Are My Goals?
Which Goals Are The Most Specific?
How Can I Be More Specific In My Goals?
There is a big difference between an athlete saying “I want to get stronger” as opposed to saying “I want to add 10lbs to my back squat”. Another example – the difference between saying “I need to gain weight” and “I need to gain 10lbs of lean body mass”.
Studies show the more specific your goal is, the better chance you have of achieving it. It starts with your mentality. More specificity leads to more clarity and better decision making. On the other end, with a generic goal like “getting stronger”, will leave you with uncertainty in not knowing exactly how to approach this goal. There are a million different ways to get stronger, but fewer ways to get stronger in the back squat.
How Can I Measure My Progress?
Can I Record or Measure Any Of My Goals?
Quantifying the goal(s) at hand will better serve you in achieving success.
There’s an old saying that goes “What gets measured, gets managed” and I couldn’t agree more. Additionally what gets measured gets scaled and repeated. This is why I steer towards programs that allow me to measure the training effect.
Strength can be typically measured in the amount of weight lifted (lbs, kg, stones, poods, etc.).
Speed is typically measured in time (m/s).
The list goes on…
This is an important reason as to why we keep a training journal and record what we can, the best we can. Set a specific goal and measure each week’s progress – don’t let your memory have the responsibility to keep track of everything you do.
Are My Goals Possible?
Are My Goals Realistic?
Is My Training Possible?
Before you work towards a goal, ask yourself the simple question of whether or not it is attainable. While I am optimistic that most things are possible, that may not be the case for every athlete.
If the goal is attainable, then proceed to IV
If the goal is determined unattainable, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Why waste time in your training with something you deem impossible?
Many times we believe things that are doable, are impossible. This can be our own self-doubt or criticism from others. The most important thing is if you believe it’s true.
If you are uncertain about a particular goal, do some research and try to find someone who has accomplished that goal before. Seek the advice from experts in the field.
Also remember that a goal that is impossible today, may not be tomorrow.
Is My Training Goal Relative To My End-Goal – The Ultimate Vision?
How Does This Training Goal of Mine Effect All Of My Other Goals?
When it comes to relativity we keep two things in mind.
Will the specific training goal positively effect the end-goal?
The end-goal of a hockey player is to improve overall performance in their sport. The end-goal of a weightlifter is to improve in theirs.
One way to improve performance in hockey is to train the squat. Similarly in weightlifting, however the focus would vary greatly because the squat is far more important to a weightlifter than it is to a hockey player.
Make sure that your training goals relates to the end-goal.
Does the specific training goal relate to any other in the same training cycle?
The best way to improve strength is to focus on strength. The best way to train speed is to work on your speed.
Not every athlete will have the luxury to spend time on one training goal at a time, but it is crucial to make sure that one training goal won’t negatively effect another.
For example, strength and conditioning is best trained in different training cycles. I typically have competitive athletes first focus a few weeks on strength, then a few weeks on conditioning (depending on the athlete and the sport).
This was my biggest mistake.
I once thought I could train everything at the same time and I was wrong.
By answering this “easy” question can help you achieve faster success in your end-goal.
How Long Will It Take To Complete My Goal?
How Much Time Do I Have?
Do I Have Enough Time To Achieve Success?
Setting deadlines on a specific goal allows us to stay focused and increase our chances of success.
How long should we expect someone to finish 5th grade? One year! Exactly.
Now most training goals should not last an entire year, though I do like to have 1-month, 3-month, 6-month and 1 year goals. This helps me stay organized and focused on the end-goal.
I personally like to create specific training cycles, each one working off of the next. These training cycles are typically 3-4 weeks, but for you these cycles can change every 2 weeks or every 7. Working with coaches, understanding your abilities and applying S.M.A.R.T. will help you understand what is best for you.
Set a deadline. Get it done.
Most people won’t take the time to create a list of goals. Even more people won’t make the effort in applying the S.M.A.R.T strategy.
If you choose to follow this exercise, then consider yourself ahead of the game as you are doing something most people refuse to do.
By implementing S.M.A.R.T, I was able to nearly 2x my progress in half the effort and time. The more I use it, the better I get at it.
It doesn’t take long. It doesn’t take much effort.
Try it out and take yourself to the next level of health and performance.
If you have any questions on how to best implement this strategy, do not hesitate to reach out to our coaches. The best places to contact us are: