|Confidence and goal setting
Past success is good for confidence. In fact, it's probably the
only really safe basis for confidence. So how can you develop a
track record of real success?
The simple answer is always set realistic goals.
This page tells you why.
This is a pretty important point for coaches, too. Beginners don't
set their own goals well, because they don't know what is hard and
what is easy. They learn fast, but the earliest steps in building
confidence are very much in the coach's hands. In many ways, it's
more important for the coach to set realistic goals than it is for
goals set a track record of success
Realistic goals mean achievable goals. Achievable goals mean frequent
What you get out of this is a track record of achieved goals. You
may not be confident of winning against the current world champion,
but you will be confident of your own ability. That means
that you can go to a competition and say, quite honestly, "I
usually achieve the goals I set". Of course, when you've trained
to the point where you're in a position to set a realistic goal
that goes "I will beat the world champion", you can go
along there and believe in it.
goals are NOT "Easy" goals
Setting trivial goals is pointless. Anyone can set a goal that
says "I will get arrows off the string most times I let go".
The art is in setting goals that you have to try for, but are within
reach if you do try. That way, the success you see is a genuine
result of reasonable effort.
Another important part of the art is to set the challenge according
to how well you cope with challenge, not arbitrarily. It is sometimes
said that an effective goal is 50% achievable (ie, that you achieve
such goals half the time). Some people do indeed thrive on such
goals. Others need more regular achievement. Often, particularly
where there are other pressures, going for 90-95% achievable goals
is more useful.
|I't been said
elsewhere that 'outcome' goals
are motivating, but not so good for anxiety management
because they are not completely in the archer's control.
Nonetheless, having such objectives is actually very common.
Here are a couple of tips for setting the most common
- score goals. Score goals are can be there to win 'absolute'
awards (eg a FITA Star or qualifying score for a classification
like master bowman), or they can be something you aim
for in order to beat an opponent.
||Base short term score goals
on current performance
Record practice and competition scores
routinely. When you go to a shoot, your score goals
for the shoot should be based on the range of complete
scores you're putting in.
Example: take a series of practice
FITA rounds with scores of 1002, 990, 1041, 1082, 1017.
Now, if you go to a shoot looking for a 1000 star, you're
onto a sound bet unless the conditions are bad (maybe
it rained the day of that 990?) But it would be a brave
man who went out expecting 1100 at an important shoot.
Why? That just looks at the best score - NOT sensible.
The typical score is quite variable, but scores from
1000 to 1040 look fair. Given that 'real' shoots add
timing pressure and nerves, the top half of the range
is perhaps a little under 50% achievable; maybe a goal
of 1015 or over would be challenging, but reasonably
sound. Now, if you don't think that's enough, get out
there and train more; that's to do with your longer
||Adjust for conditions
You go along to a shoot with a realistic
1125 expectation, and arrive at the ground to find a
strong and variable wind blowing from your least favourite
Unless you figured that into the 1125, think again and
readjust your expectations downwards, as far as necessary
to give you the same 'challenge' given what you know
about your windy weather shooting. if you don't want
to do that, at the very least recognise the reason your
scores are low! You can't beat yourself over the head
for the weather.
But you can find out a bit more about your bad weather
performance, and see if you need more practice to cope
with it; it's a rare setback that allows no learning.
||Train to find long term goals
You want another 100 points next season.
Maybe that's because you want the next star; maybe your
favourite opponent beat you by 30 this time and you
reckon they're on for 30 over that next season.
How the h*ll are you going
to find 100 points?!
That common reaction is not very
positive, is it? Try this instead
points next year is about 10 points a month.
your score card; where's the easiest extra ten points?
Work on that for a month.
your technique; where's the biggest chance for another
10-30 points? Work on that for a month or three.
your equipment; is there a ten point advantage to find
in there somewhere?
much practice time can you add (if that's low); can
you find extra space?
... and so on. Now, instead of climbing
a mountain in one jump, you're climbing small steps.
This is a better way to hunt points; also, you find
out what works and what doesn't.
By the way, this sort of thing is a good coach's job;
working regularly with a good coach can get you started
well and monitoed as you go. Not many people have regular
access to coaching, but if you can, maybe there's a
lot more points out there...
you achieve everything easily, or you miss some!
If they're coming in easily, and you're
oodles of points in hand all the time, great! This is
a problem we'd all like to have. As a coach, I'd only
worry if I thought someone was building themselves a
comfort zone; a score range they were happy in, but
feared to try and exceed in case they failed. That's
a cue to manage 'input' or 'process' goals to get sustained
training effort; that should lift the performance without
focussing on the score until, maybe, a new objective
score goal comes into easier reach. Like a comfort zone
between 1100 and 1140; too far from 1200 for that to
be real, but 1160 seen as hard. Train until things start
moving on up and the higher scores look genuinely achievable.
Alternatively, take a BIG step; break the mould and
go straight for the top, with commitments to match.
More effective, I think, but higher risk.
make all your goals, especially early on. But failure
to make a specific score goal doesn't make you a bad person.
- did you set the goal to be 100% achievable? If not,
you shouldn't be expecting to hit them all.
- Is there something to learn about goal setting? If you
consistently miss goals, you're setting them too high
for your own good. Rein back on your short term expectations,
and move the high achievement goals to the longer term.
Then you can start looking at how you need to train to