4 Crucial Goals to Set for Your Best Season Yet

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Taylor Byers, Swimming World College Intern.

For most swimmers, summer has come to an end and school is back in session. This means the swim season has begun or will shortly begin. While physically getting back in shape is a first priority for most, swimmers should also get their minds back into shape by mentally preparing for their seasons with goals they want to accomplish. Setting goals at the beginning of a season will help keep swimmers mentally on track and stay motivated during the long months that span over half the year.

Here are four goals that every swimmer should set to have their best season yet:

1. Be a leader.


Photo Courtesy: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Leaders come in all varieties. One way to lead is with their voice. This can be done in multiple ways, such as giving inspiration, motivation, cheering, showing initiative or giving advice. Leaders can also lead by example. Their work ethic can be contagious by doing what they preach, and they can show others how to work together. Being a good example will make everyone want to follow. Furthermore, leaders can be there for support, they can be the backbone for the team and accomplish underlying tasks that need done to perform at their best. A successful team is a team full of leaders. By setting this goal, swimmers can help one another by becoming a better person both in and out of the pool.

2. Recover more often.


Photo Courtesy: Taylor Brien

Recovery is one area that a lot of swimmers forget about or put on the back-burner. If time runs short, recovery gets skipped. There are many ways to maximize recovery. One is sleep! Sleep is one of the best ways to recover and is necessary when waking up for early morning practices along with having doubles multiple times a week. Another area of recovery is stretching. Showing up a little bit earlier before practice and taking an extra few minutes after practice is a great way to get stretching in. Stretching before going to sleep each night is another optimal time. Along with sleep and stretching, recovery can be done by honing proper eating habits after practice to refuel, utilizing your athletic trainers or even rolling out on a foam roller. Recovery is a vital step to prepare for the next practice and ultimately, the next meet.

3. Set an intention for each practice.

Apr 15, 2015; Mesa, AZ, USA; 18-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps walks to the pool for a practice session at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Skyline Aquatic Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic via USA TODAY Sports

Photo Courtesy: Arizona Republic-USA TODAY Sports

This goal helps with the bigger end goal: the time swimmers want to go at the last big taper meet. Whether it is not breathing in or out of the walls, finding a breathing pattern, doing one more underwater dolphin kick or not taking the race out as fast, there is always something that can be done to improve a race. If they know what areas of the race needs help, then setting an intention for each practice to work on that area will help form the perfect race they are looking for. As the famous phrase goes: Practice makes perfect.

4. Have fun.


Photo Courtesy: Melissa Lundie/Arena

Oftentimes, swimmers forget that the bottom line in swimming is all about having fun. Whenever they are having fun, they swim fast and forget about how much their arms and legs burn during a difficult set. Having fun while swimming is when the magic happens. A team becomes more than a team – it becomes a family. No doubt about it, there are many, many difficult times that occur over one’s swimming career. What helps overcome those hardships are the fun they have. The bottom line is that swimmers swim because they enjoy this sport and the charisma it shows. So, when the mind starts to wander and motivation is low, remembering that swimming is all about having fun will help keep swimmers more focused on what they want to achieve this season.

Setting a goal time is ideal for most swimmers. Nonetheless, how they achieve that goal time is essential. By setting a process to get to those times with these four goals, swimmers can create an exact plan to keep their minds on track and become a better individual in the process.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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Charity Adams-McCafferty

Caileigh McCafferty

Kelley Zimcosky
Kelley Zimcosky
5 years ago

Excellent article, Taylor! So proud of you!!

5 years ago

I appreciate how succinctly this is written and how relevant each goal is to being productive and fulfilled not just in swimming but in everyday life. I’m reading this Sunday evening and feeling inspired about how I will approach AM practice and work Monday. Nice work!

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