The quote above is something that I think about a lot. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” Learning to embrace challenge and things that make you uncomfortable ultimately sets you apart from from other people. It’s the difference between the people watching the Olympic games and the people competing in them. I always tell my divers “if I am asking you to do something it’s probably not easy”. My goal is not to frustrate people but rather to help them realize that they are capable of far more than they can even imagine. There is nothing better than setting a difficult goal and then eventually achieving it. Even if you don’t achieve it, the things that you learn along the way will be valuable learning experiences. “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” - Les Brown

I recommend that my athletes set 3 types of goals:

  1. A short term goal that can be accomplished in a week or so at practice, like getting a new dive, or getting more consistent front take offs.

  2. A medium term goal, such as something you are trying to achieve before the end of the season or the end of the year, like getting a full one and a half list or putting down all voluntary dives for 6’s.

  3. A long term goal, such as something that may take multiple seasons or years to achieve, like qualifying for the NYS high school championships, or breaking 500 points on 11 dives.

Once you have decided on some big goals, WRITE THEM DOWN. Leave them in a place that you can see them everyday. Remind yourself why you are going to practice, workouts, and meets.

Disclaimer: while I am all for setting big goals, it is also important to be realistic. Setting unrealistic goals can have the opposite of the desired effect, causing you to lose faith in yourself and become demoralized. For example, it would be an unrealistic goal for a diver who can barely compete a legal front dive tuck to set a goal of becoming a state champion by the end of that year. A more reasonable goal might be to work toward mastering a subset of the skills that a state champion caliber diver would have, for example putting in voluntary dives for 6’s and moving on from there. You can still have that big goal but make it realistic.That sets you up for success and for feeling good about what you are doing.

Next, once you have your goals written down it is important to devise a plan on how you are going to reach them. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals can help a lot.

Specific - The goal should be clear and not ambiguous. The goal should not be fuzzy or hard to define. No gray areas.

Measurable - You should be able to track your progress clearly.

Attainable - Goals must be realistic, as discussed above.

Relevant - Smaller/milestone goals should fall in line with your larger end goals.

Time bound - Have a specific deadline of when you would like to achieve your goal/s.

For example let’s say my goal is to put down a 105B for 7’s by the end of the year, but I keep going short and I am having trouble making it around. A good plan would be as follows.

Goal: 105b, 7’s, 12/31/16


  1. Work on flexibility. Right now I am having trouble making the dive because I am not rotating fast enough. Stretch 20 mins everyday.

  2. Increase strength training regimen in order to have more power to complete the dive higher and faster, resulting in higher scores. Workout 3 days a week.

  3. Pay particular attention to board work and hurdle work training fundamentals

  4. Work on forward entries and lineups

  5. Work on 105c. Practice getting out of the dive earlier and putting it down for scores.

  6. Practice 105b on 3m if available

  7. Practice consistent 104b lead ups

A bad S.M.A.R.T. goal would be “get better at diving”.

I hope this all makes sense. If you have questions about what your goals should be or whether or not they are realistic, please email me, or talk to me after practice someday. I would love to talk more!

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