Journaling Goals and Progress
Every athlete should be expected to maintain a training journal. The more detailed, the better, especially with performance indicators such as how fast, how far, and how high. The performance indicators should directly relate to the athlete’s goals.
A simple rating system for sleep, nutrition, energy levels, and performance will provide some feedback that can be used to determine the current training state of an athlete. The information in the journal will guide training adjustments and can be used to reevaluate goals.
Part of what makes athletics, so captivating is the unpredictability of the outcome. Every athlete has a certain amount of variance in performance, making it difficult to know what works and does not work. Accurate record keeping will help provide the framework for what specific methods work for each athlete, which can reduce the fluctuations in performance by repeating what works best when performance matters the most.
Athletes and coaches should share the journal information and discuss how training is frequently progressing. This discussion can occur before or after a session or in an individual meeting. It should only take a few minutes since the coach and athlete are in constant communication during practice sessions. It is important to have very specific goals for everything and to journal progress.
Like training, goals should be previewed before each session, evaluated during each unit of practice and reviewed afterward.
It is important that goals are flexible and continuously evaluated and updated based on the current state of training. Every champion starts with a plan: the willingness to modify the plan is just as crucial as developing the original plan. Athletes need challenging goals that are attainable throughout the various training phases.
Daily process goals should be written down but can be adjusted during each practice session, allowing the athlete to focus on the rights skills for improvement. Coaches and athletes should discuss specific process goals in training and why it will lead to the outcome goal. Understanding the teaching progression of skills will help the athlete move up and down the progression ladder of a complex skill based on the level of competence during a particular session.
Goals should be evaluated frequently and altered based on if the goal was achieved in a predetermined time frame. The sequence in the progression of goal attainment should not be changed; however, the rate of improvement should be continuously evaluated and updated based on progress.