Setting Goals for Dragonboating

May 16, 2019

While searching around the web for some information on Goal Setting we ran across this article which is applicable to so many things in life.  Whether you are setting a goal to become a faster paddler, to be more committed to your workouts, or to being a better parent, setting realistic, measurable and achievable goals keeps you on the path and helps you achieve the desired result:

One issue that happens time and time again from many paddlers is staying focused and motivated in dragonboating. When you first start, it’s easy to learn many new things and to quickly improve  the quality of your paddling. However, people often reach a point when they start to plateau and this is the time when they need to boost their motivation and set new goals. Whether you have just started dragonboating or have been paddling for years, understanding how goal setting can work for you will not only get you motivated, it will also improve your paddling.

The S.M.A.R.T approach to goal setting can be used for Dragonboating. It is a simple principle to follow and can help you take your paddling to another level if you apply it properly.

The S.M.A.R.T. principle

    1. Set Specific Goals. Research shows that specific goals are the most motivating. For example, a specific goal is to reduce your 200m water time trial time by 30 seconds within 6 months. Many people just say they want to get faster. This goal is far too general to really motivate you in your training.
    2. Set Measurable Goals. Simply saying that you want to get faster is not enough detail. You need to be able to chart and document progress toward your goal. One way to measure your progress is to document your performance at set intervals. In the above example you may want to record your 200m water time trial performance every 2 months so you have a good measurement to work on.
    3. Set Adjustable Goals. This means your goals are flexible enough to accommodate unexpected challenges without becoming obsolete. An injury may force you to modify your goal. If your goal is to compete at the Dragonboat National titles in 6 months and you are injured, you may need to change your goal to allow for an extra 3 months to recover from injury. It doesn’t mean you abandon all your plans. At the same time, you may find you are progressing quickly and need to raise your goal. Set Action-Oriented Goals 
      Another important aspect of goal-setting is to keep focused on personal action. Don’t forget to consider not only what you want to achieve, but how you plan to achieve it. 
    4. Set Realistic Goals. Start where you are, and increase your goals accordingly. If you haven’t ever paddled a 1000m race, it’s probably not a wise goal to say you want complete this in 20 minutes. While that may be your long-term goal, in the short-term you may want to shoot for the a 500m race first and condition your body for racing conditions. This sort of progression is healthy and realistic. Also, keep in mind that as you become more fit towards your full potential, the room for continued improvement gets smaller. Similarly, if your goals are too simple, you won’t feel much satisfaction by attaining them. Only you truly know what is realistic for you.
    5. Set Time-based Goals. Look again at first example: reduce your 200m water time trial by 30 seconds within 6 months. This is specific and time-based. Without a time line there is a tendency to procrastinate or get bored. You may also need to set interim goals with shorter time lines to keep you on track. Consider the previous example of working up to a 1000m race by completing shorter distances first. This is breaking down your goal by being time specific. In general, goals that stretch out beyond 6 months are too long to keep you interested and motivated. Try to re-evaluate your goals every 2-3 months.Goal setting is an art as well as a science, but if you make sure your goals follow the S.M.A.R.T. formula, you will find you are more likely to stay motivated and reach goal after goal.                                                                                                                                                                                              KIALOA designs and builds a full line of top quality dragonboat paddlesto help you achieve your desired results.                                                                                                                                                                                 

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