When we are working directly with a competitive archer it is important to set goals and keep those achievable. Goals can allow us to create a plan, give us something to monitor progress against, provide a sense of achievement and serve as motivation. As a coach, always keep in mind that they are the “archers” goals so be gentle, respectful and don’t discount their input, particularly for a large goal. Nothing takes the wind of someone’s sails faster than being told their dreams are unrealistic.
If an archer is asked what their goal is, you might get a grand answer like “I want to win a medal at the Olympics”. Now certainly this is a worthy goal and something thousands of archers worldwide are striving to achieve but it is an “outcome” goal. This can be great for motivation. It is also probably a huge step from where they are today and is largely out of the archers control. Archery is a sport where we have no direct influence over our competitors’ score so all we can do is shoot our own game and hope it is the best on the day. If the only goal an archer has is a large outcome goal, we need to consider the detrimental effect that this can have on the archer.
Some considerations might be:
- What comes after the goal is achieved?
- What happens if the goal is missed? The archer could make it to the Olympics, shoot the best they have ever done overall and still miss out simply due to another lesser archer having the 3 best sets they have ever shot.
- What effect does the huge step up the ladder have on the archers mindset?
- How do they measure progress?
“Performance” goals are a more useful tool and can be continually expanded on as the archer improves. “I want to shoot a 640 by the end of the year” or “I want to improve my average arrow score by 0.1 over the next 6 months” are performance goals that are open ended. Once the archer achieves that 640 for example we can then aim for 650. Once they have improved the average arrow score by 01., we can then repeat that goal. These are smaller rungs on the ladder, can be more readily achieved and the archer gets a sense of accomplishment once they have reached the performance goal.
“Process” goals are even more specific and achievable, particularly if your archer has a growth mindset (which they really do need or they are in the wrong game to be brutally honest).
Every competitive archer must have these types of goals. If they don’t then what are they doing when they are practicing beside flinging arrows at a target. Goals such as “ensure I am not moving my head”, “Shoot with my weight evenly distributed across my stance” etc etc are able to be monitored and measured and can give the archer an accomplishment in the short term.
Form goals can be short lived, modified and even discarded as needed. They really should be dynamic as the archer improves or even regresses. For example, an archer may decide that they want to increase their draw weight from 34lbs to 38lbs. They do the required strength and SPT training only to find out that they did in fact shoot more comfortably and more consistently at 36lbs.
So overall, having a larger outcome goal is good for motivation but try not to over use them.
In consultation with your archer, develop at least one performance goal to aim for over a specific period of time and have a plan for if that goal is achieved early as well as if they fall short. Formulate the process goals based on your archers ability and work these into a training plan. Constantly review the process goals, swap new ones in and out as needed and use these to measure progress in small steps. The workflow is we use the process goals to achieve the performance goals which in turn will lead us to our outcome goal.