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Setting Goals, The SMART Way

As parents and coaches, we all want our youth athletes to make progress in their strength training routines. One effective way to help them achieve their fitness goals is by setting SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Let’s dive deeper into how this framework applies to strength training for youth athletes.


1. Specific: Rather than having a vague goal like “get stronger,” you should be precise with what you are trying to achieve. For example, “increase squat weight by 10 pounds” or “perform 10 pull-ups” are specific goals that provide clear direction.


2. Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable, allowing athletes to track their progress. In the case of strength training, you can measure success by tracking the amount of weight lifted, the number of repetitions, jump height and distance, etc.


3. Achievable: Goals must be realistic and attainable. Often, we set goals that are not within our current capabilities which can lead to frustration and disappointment. It is important to make training goals that both challenge you to work hard but are attainable with a consistent effort and plan.


4. Relevant: Ensure that the goal is relevant to your sport and overall athletic development. It should align with your long-term aspirations and the specific needs that may be required to excel in your chosen sport. Creating relevant goals helps you to stay focused on what is important in your short and long-term development.


5. Time-bound: Set a deadline for achieving the goal. Having a timeframe creates a sense of urgency and commitment. For instance, “increase squat weight by 10 pounds within three months” sets a clear time frame.


Here is an example of a SMART goal with all the pieces put together: “I want to increase my vertical jump height by 1 inch in two months by following my strength training program consistently and practicing proper sleep and nutrition.”


Framing a goal this way will give you a clear roadmap to follow. With the SMART system, you will know exactly what exercises to focus on, how to measure your progress, and how long it should take to achieve the specific goal. This approach not only enhances your physical performance but also instills valuable traits like discipline and dedication.


With any goal, it is important to check-in with yourself regularly and make necessary adjustments to your training plan. Celebrate your achievements along the way and remember that setbacks are a normal part of the journey to becoming a better athlete.

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