At the beginning of a new year, it’s a nice time to reflect on your life, and think about what we want to accomplish, and how can we make our lives better. What do you want to accomplish with gymnastics? I’m going to walk you through 6 steps in order to completely SLAY your gymnastics goals this year.
I’ve put together a free Gymnastics Goals Worksheet to help you set some goals for the year. Click Here to Download
The first step to figuring out what your gymnastics goals should be is to dream. What would you like to see in your future?
- Would you like to be more fit? Gymnastics is a great way to get toned, develop more muscle and like any exercise, it burns calories.
- Would you like to have more friends? Gymnastics classes can help you meet other gymnasts around your age, and gives you a shared interest to help you bond.
- Would you like to eventually be on your high-school gymnastics team? Depending on what grade you are in right now, this can be a do-able goal. High school gymnastics teams typically compete Xcel rules. Start learning more skills now, to increase your chances of making the gymnastics team. Being on a sports team in high school also can help to show you are a well-rounded student on your college applications.
- Would you like to make a college gymnastics team? This is a much more difficult goal, as not many gymnasts are ever at the level to be able to compete college gymnastics. So, if this is your goal you will need to start working towards it now.
- Would you like to become an Olympic gymnast? This is an extremely difficult, highly unlikely goal. However, right now we are just dreaming. But, if you would like to see this in your future, you will need to start working on the Olympic dream now with extreme focus.
What You Want Your Life to Look Like
During the dream stage you are thinking about what you want your life to look like. These goals are called ultimate goals. They are the goals you need to reach to create the life you want.
(I go over some of the specifics of goal setting and mindset in The Mental Workout all Gymnasts Should be Doing and other Strategies for Becoming the Best Gymnast You Can Be. )
2. Make Goals
Once you’ve figured out what your gymnastics dream is, you need to figure out how to accomplish it. These are the goals you need to achieve in order to get to your dream.
For example, if you want to make your high-school gymnastics team, you might decide that you need to be an Xcel Gold by the time you are a freshman. Every high-school has a team at a different level of difficulty, so the level you will need to be will vary.
If you need to be an Xcel Gold by the time you are a freshman, and you are in 6th grade and an Xcel Bronze now, this is a do-able goal if you set your mind to it. You will then need to make sure you advance one level every year, so that in 9th grade you will be a Gold.
So for this year, your goal would be to make sure you get all of the Xcel Silver skills, in order to move up a level by next season.
The goal of getting all the Xcel Silver skills would be a product goal. These are the goals you want to accomplish this year.
3. Make your Goals SMART
One of the keys to goal setting is to make your goals SMART. What does that mean? SMART is an acronym that describes a type of goal that will help you to be successful.
The acronym stands for:
Making your goals specific will help you know exactly what you need to do to achieve them.
Goals need to be measurable, so you know when they are completed.
Goals should be realistic. Everyone wants to be able to go to the Olympics, but if you are only working out for an hour a week, this is not an achievable goal.
Goals should be relevant. Think about what needs to happen to achieve your bigger goals.
T- Time Bound
Goals should be time-bound, so that there is pressure to achieve them.
In addition to making ultimate goals (your dreams), and product goals (the steps that need to be taken to get to your ultimate goal), you need to make SMART process goals.
In our previous example, of wanting to get to Xcel Gold by high-school, the product goal was to learn all of the Xcel Silver skills this year.
We need some SMART goals in order to achieve that. One of the major silver skills is a back handspring on floor. If you’re trying to learn a back handspring, you need arm strength and leg strength. You also need to have practiced back handspring drills.
Here are some examples of SMART goals you could make if you want to learn a back handspring:
- Do 3 1-minute handstand holds against the wall everyday until I learn a back handspring.
- Do 2 sets of 10 squats every other day for the next month, or until I learn a back handspring.
- Complete a mental workout before each practice, where I visualize doing a back handspring perfect, until I’ve mastered the skill.
4. Plan How you will Achieve your Goals
You have dreamed what you want your life to be like in the future, you have decided what goal milestones you need to hit in order to get there, and what action goals you need to execute on. Now is the time to put a plan together in order to achieve your goals.
Visualize Your Goals
It’s nice to have a visual representation of your goals to remind and motivate you. This is where my skill progression charts are very handy. You can visualize what gymnastics skills you need to learn, and your progression as you master them.
On the charts you can check off when you have gotten a skill, when you can do it well, and when you have mastered it. The skill charts are especially helpful if you are trying to get to the next gymnastics level. Like in our example of moving from Xcel Bronze to Xcel Silver, the skill progression charts show you what skills you need to be learning.
One way to visualize your goals would be to buy a skill checklist, check off the skills you can already do, and hang it on the wall. Then write down what actions (SMART goals) you will need to take to learn the other skills.
Block off Time
Another important step in planning how you will achieve your goals is blocking off time during the day to work on them. Will you practice after you complete your homework every day? Or on the weekends?
Schedule this time in your school planner, so you won’t forget to take action every day.
Another way to plan how you will achieve your goals is to come up with workout plans. I have come up with some home gymnastics workout plans, but you might also want to come up with some for the gym.
Your coach might have your workouts already laid out for you, in which case that makes it easy! You simply set your mind to completing them with great form, and concentrating on execution.
If you have open gym workouts at your gym, you could utilize those to do your own workouts. Workouts that for example, allow you to do many back handspring drills in order to complete that goal.
5. Make the 1st Step Really Easy
After you have come up with a plan of action to achieve your gymnastics goals, you will want to revise the plan to make the first step really easy.
Why, you might ask?
Studies have shown that when the first step is really easy, and you are able to complete it fast, that quick win motivates you to complete the rest of the steps.
So if you are trying to learn how to do a back handspring, you could make the first SMART goal to be to do 1 bridge and stretch through your shoulders for 10 seconds today. This will take only 10 seconds to complete and you will already feel like you are on your way to a back handspring.
6. Take the 1st Step
The last step to putting you on the path to slaying your gymnastics dreams this year, is to fill out the goals worksheet you have downloaded, and then to take the first step!
I hope you achieve everything you want this year–in school, life and gymnastics!