different goals, skills, levels of maturity,
and priorities. In general, when working
with young athletes in their first goal-setting meeting I do a lot of directing
and very little presenting – except to ask
questions that focus their attention on
actions and steps they can control and that
serve as measures of their success.
Most often the meetings seem to follow
one of two paths. In one, the young
athletes will be too general and dreamy;
with a focus just on the outcome. These
athletes envision themselves “levitating”
to the top of the podium to receive their
gold medal, but have no idea how to take
the attainable steps to achieve that goal.
For these athletes, you need to build
the steps to the podium and show them
how to climb the stairs based on tasks
for which success is solely tied to their
attitude and effort. Tasks such as eating
well, maintaining their equipment, and
following their off-season workout plan
are fully within the athlete’s control.
Down the other path, some young
athletes are too specific. Overly focused
on the steps of the process, they often miss
the bigger picture. These athletes climb a
perpetual staircase where all they can see is
the next step, losing site of the destination
that inspired the journey. They’ll benefit
from an approach in which you help them
demolish the steps that represent things
that are outside of their control, such as
the performance of the other competitors,
the course set, or their finish result.
My intent in goal-setting meetings is
to teach achievement behavior; for the
athlete to learn the process of drawing
connections between attitude/effort and
outcomes. As they mature and become
more comfortable with the process, they
begin to work backward from dream to
goal, from goal to actions to be taken, and
from the specific actions they control to
outcomes. This is the point where they
begin to see that goals – and therefore
dreams – are achievable.
Dave Lyon is a four-term member of the
PSIA Alpine Team. He is the owner and
director of Lyon Ski School as well as head
coach and program director at Stevens Pass
Alpine Club in Washington State.
PSIA Alpine Team member Dave Lyon talks
shop with USSA’s Ron Kipp at PSIA-AASI’s
Fall Workshop 2013.
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