The Blind Goal Workout

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

Do you want to get a group of kids motivated and swimming fast 100s at practice? Try this workout for a psychological test.

? x 3 x 100 for time

Before practice, the coach writes down a goal time for each swimmer for 100y of one of their prime strokes. The goal time should be extremely challenging (i.e. their lifetime best practice time or maybe even a true lifetime best in some cases). The coach does not reveal the goal times but instead folds it up and pins it to the bulletin board. The group performs fast 100s in groups of three on 4-5 minutes of rest, with ez 200y swims between rounds. For each goal time met, the group receives a point, and the set continues until a group point goal is met. Coach reads the swimmers’ times after each 100 and states whether or not they have reached the goal time, but does not reveal the goal.
You will find out how psychologically strong your team is if you set the goals high enough. If they experience some early success scoring points, they will be more motivated. Should they hit a drought, some group members may give less than their best and no longer strive to swim really fast. If this happens, you may reveal the goal times and then give the group a final opportunity to achieve them. Seeing the goal times will help some athletes and others may be discouraged.

Regardless of how it shakes out, you are bound to get some fast swimming and some great fodder for discussion about goals (and how hard it is to not have them), expectations, and motivation.

If you give the Blind Goal Workout a try, please let me know how it goes.

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