Goal Setting, S.M.A.R.T Principles & SWOT Analysis
In order to be good at something it makes sense to focus your energy at that goal, for example if you want to be better at running then you got to run, if you want to get stronger you need a plan tailored specifically at strength training, if you want to improve your muscle ups then you need to break down the technical aspects and become more efficient with the movements.
On the big picture it really is that simple. But to break it down we can use the S.M.A.R.T principles (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Type).
One of the best things I think anybody could do is to perform a SWOT Analysis; this is a process where a person identifies their strengths & weaknesses. Be honest with this one, write it down.
Strengths – What is it your good at within that specific goal?
Weaknesses – What needs improvement?
Opportunity – What can you do to improve the weaknesses?
Threats – What could get in your way of you improving? i.e work commitments, lack of facilities.
Once you have figured out your weaknesses then you can then plan your SMART principles. For example if I was wanting to increase my lower body strength.
Specific – Train specifically to that goal, squats, glute bridges, split squats etc.
Measurable – Is it measurable, can you see the improvements for example 3RM Back Squat Test
Achievable – Is your goal achievable within the time frame you have set? I know for me it probably isn’t achievable for me to Increase my squat by 20kg in 2 weeks.
Realistic – As well as being achievable is it also realistic for you to be able to do X,Y & Z? I know it isn’t realistic for me to be able to squat 250kg.
Timeline – Set a time frame which can help you keep focused on the process
In order for the Smart Principles to be effective it has to be very specific, improving squats for example can’t be just to get stronger, be more specific than that. What is holding you back in the squat, is it flexibility/mobility? Is it technique? Weak activation of Glutes? Weak at the bottom of the hole? Try and pin point the weakness.
The problem within sports like Crossfit is that it takes a lot of disciplines in order to be competitive, Strength, Muscular Endurance, High Lactate Threshold and a good Aerobic base on top of having the skill aspects of the gymnastics & weightlifting elements as well as having the mobility in order to perform these movements.
For this the athlete has to be very honest with themselves on the SWOT analysis and break it down to 1-2 weaknesses at a time rather than trying to improve everything at once as this will only lead to frustration and a lack of progress.
There are 2 trains of thought when it comes to coaches and their planning, one of which is to try and train every aspect of Crossfit, the other is to periodize and have training blocks focused on specific elements. The latter being the best option in my opinion where you have specific training goals per block with phases in and out and maintenance sessions thrown in there. It is also important as well for the coach to take in to account the volume of each block as each goal will require a different amount of recovery time. Nutritional strategies will also change depending on the training block also for example if it’s a strength block the athlete may need to consume less calories than someone who is on an aerobic development block that requires 1-3hr sessions of consistent activity.
Putting a plan together can be very complicated with a tonne of variables that need to be considered and that can also change throughout the training plan. Anything could happen, illness, injury, new shift patterns at work etc. so no plan is ever going to go to plan. When set backs occur you can still be doing something to improve. If your injured you can cross train so that you are still getting some exercise. If you are doing extra hours at work use some of that time to get some stretches done such as seated glute stretch, hip flexor etc.
Tiny steps in the right direction!