It is great to dream of becoming world champion, but the road is long, and it is easy to get lost! Leaving the gym tired and sweaty does not necessarily mean that you did the right things. You have to train smart to improve! What starts out as a dream must become a project with concrete objectives that you get a little closer to every day due to your hard work.
Goals to stay motivated
There will be times in the year when you will be very active in the ring, and other times when opportunities to compete will be harder to find. Generally, it is easy to stay motivated when you know that you will be fighting soon, but it becomes a little harder when you know that you won’t be competing for a while. A good way to maintain motivation is to set short-term and medium-term goals. It is also a good way to make sure that you keep improving during quieter times.
Who should determine your goals?
There are goals that we set by ourselves, others that we set with our team. Your personal goals can affect different spheres related to your sport: weight loss, technical aspects, stress management, fitness, etc.
It’s important to determine your goals so that they motivate you, but you also need to discuss them with your coaches and team professionals. When everyone is heading in the same direction, the boat moves faster! Your team needs to know exactly what you want to achieve in order to help you get there to the best of their knowledge – and according to what they consider to be a priority in your development.
Make progress even when you’re injured
There is always a part of your boxing on which you can work. You are injured and cannot throw a jab? Set the goal of improving your rear hand cross. You have a broken nose? Find exercises to work on your footwork. You cannot train at all? Analyze a video of a potential opponent every day. Whatever the circumstances, make sure you get closer to your long-term goal every day by putting in the effort.
What is a good goal?
• A good goal is written in the positive.
Avoid negatives like don’t, not, etc. Objectives that are written positively are clearer, and therefore better assimilated and strengthened. For example, it is preferable to write « Have my hands up at all times » rather than « Not to lower my hands when I’m tired » (see The story of the pink elephant).
• A good goal includes an action verb.
Be careful not to confuse the activities you do to achieve a goal with the goals themselves.
Examples of medium-term objectives :
A goal can include your technique, your diet, your personal life, your lifestyle or your recovery – in short, ANYTHING that can affect your performance!
One step at a time
Your goal is to win the Canadian Championships? Perfect! But that does not tell you what to do when you set foot in the club tomorrow. Start by determining your long-term goal, then break it down into medium-term goals (between 2 weeks and a few months), then divide these into short-term goals.
To formulate your goals, ask yourself: What should I do to win the Nationals? Who should I beat? What do I have to do specifically in the ring for the judges to grant me the rounds against this or that opponent? This will help you determine more accurately what to do during training week after week.
« I want » versus « I do »
Everyone wants to win. Everyone wants to be the best. So, what makes the difference between one boxer and the next? It is not the one who decides he wants to win who will win, but rather the one who does the work. Every day, your work at the gym must match your goals.
Ambitious but realistic goals
A goal should be challenging enough to motivate you, but realistic enough to be achievable. If it’s not, it will end up having the opposite effect!
If you want to win the Provincials, for example, you must first assess whether you are close or far from your goal, in other words, you need to know your abilities in relation to your opponents. It’s important that you don’t let your opponent define what you do in training. Rather use it as a measure to see how close you are to your goal and to make sure that you are aiming for a realistic goal.
Your coaches are the ones who know you best. Once again, do not hesitate to ask them what, for you, is both realistic and ambitious.
Winning versus progressing
A realistic goal is to evaluate you in a specific context. It does not have to be winning,; it could be being able to execute something in the ring, maintaining a high pace during 3 rounds or systematically throwing 35 jabs per round in training.
Know that aiming for a second place does not close the door to a gold medal. If this objective is sufficiently ambitious and realistic for you, it will only predispose you to a good performance and help you avoid feeling unnecessary pressure, among other things.
Measurable and time-bound objectives
Once you know what you want to work on, make sure that your goals are easily measurable. You want to throw more punches per round or more combinations? How many? Also determine when you will evaluate yourself and how.
Using the sheet below, I suggest that you set 2 medium-term goals, which you will divide into 2 or 3 short-term goals. Keep in mind that each of them must meet the 5 SMART criteria (see box). I encourage you to complete it yourself, discuss it with your coaches and then modify it according to their recommendations.
Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need a hand!