Goal Setting

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Tim McMichael
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Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 3:36 pm
Expertise: Current college and private coach. Former elite vaulter.

Unread postby Tim McMichael » Sat Dec 09, 2006 2:22 pm

I agree with Altius that intermediate goal setting is essential. The big picture is nothing without the details. It is one thing to see the mountaintop destination of a Gold Medal. It is quite another to survey the intervening wilderness, the sheer rock faces, the twisting dead ends, the sudden drops into nothing, the blank spaces in between. It is also important to count the cost of the journey. I have had several athletes tell me their goal is a World Championship. I have yet to find one who could give me even an approximation of what it might take to get there. Many opt out when they do see it. This is not always a bad thing either. The most talented athlete I ever coached told me he would rather have time for a wife and family than a trip to the Olympics. I couldn't argue with that.

To extend the mountain climbing metaphor, I only ever made it to the base camp, but I chose the difficult road of my own free will and fell off the side of the mountain while scratching and clawing at the ice, trying with every fiber of my being to get higher, trailing blood all the way down. Then I spent years at the bottom of a dark crevice feeling blindly along the wall for any pathway back up. I also found redemption, self knowledge, and the love and affection of my fellow travelers. (How are you doing these days Pat? Congrats on the 18 footer, old man. Remember when we were kids at the Junior World Championships, and the snipers were keeping the terrorists away?)

I don’t discourage anyone from making the attempt. The journey somehow becomes the goal in the end. My best advice is to ignore people who take free ride to the top and pretend they have accomplished anything. Pay attention to what the mountain can teach you, and stop and share your oxygen with anyone you meet stranded and lost along the way.


Wow. This is way to poetic and personal, but I thought I would post it anyway. Someone might get some good from it. I know it did me good to write it. :)


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