I sent the sailors on my team this email earlier this week. I wish I could send the same letter, and the same promise of support, to you, my readers:
Hi guys. Coach here. I miss y'all. Hope you're having a nice break.
Two weeks until you're back on campus. 10 weeks left before spring break and sailing. 18 weeks until reading period. 20 weeks until our seniors graduate.
I hope in the next few days you'll set some personal milestones for yourself for the next 2 weeks, 10 weeks, and 20 weeks. If you like, you can email them to me and I will follow up to see how you did. (I won't tell anyone else your goals.) You're more likely to follow through on a goal if you are accountable to someone else. Any particular goal is fine. No goals, that's not fine.
Make your goals simple, realistic, clear, and measurable. An effective goal should have a deadline and a clear outcome, so that on a date certain I can ask you: did you do it? and it will be easy to say 'yes' or 'no'. So, "floss more" is not an easy goal to measure, but "floss at least 4 times every week" is clear and measurable. "Be less stressed" -- not a clear goal. "Take at least two hours a week to do something that relaxes me" is clear, as is "Write an outline for each paper at least two days before it's due."
Some goals you might think about in the next 2 weeks:
- read (or re-read) a sailing or sports psychology book. (Winning in One Designs, Understanding the Racing Rules of Sailing, The Inner Game of Tennis, and Psyching For Sport are my favorites.)
- Write down your sailing goals for spring season, this summer, and beyond, so you're ready to talk to me about them when we get back to campus.
- Check in with the person you're sailing with this spring. Ask about their goals, and share your own.
- Write down your stumbling blocks for sailing -- the things you most need to get better at. This could be a skill or it could be psychological. When you get back to campus, I'll help you figure out a plan for tackling it.
- Assess your own fitness, and set some goals about what you'd like to accomplish before spring break (get stronger, lose 5 pounds, be able to hike longer without getting tired, etc.) When you get back to campus (or before, if you email me), I'll help you map out a strategy for getting there.
What's possible in 10 weeks?
- You can get measurably leaner, stronger, and more aerobically fit.
- You can understand the fundamentals of sail trim, tactics, or team racing far better.
- You can become more confident and self-directed about sailing (or, for that matter, anything else that's important to you).
I will work with you on any of these goals. If it's something I don't know anything about, I'll find a person or a resource that can help you.
Happy New Year. 2006 is going to be fun.