Coaching riders. Setting SMART goals.

It’s National Coaches Week. As a teacher of riders, I’m determined to be a life-long learner. Today’s sports psychology seminar was a good reminder about the keys to setting SMART goals with the riders I teach.

S. Specific. Descriptive words. Based on factors riders can control.

M. Measureable. Beyond “Do your best”, an objective benchmark of knowing we’re making progress. Let’s write them down and celebrate when we achieve them!

A. Attainable. Doable, yet ambitious enough to stretch us a bit.

R. Realistic. Goals based on horse and rider’s strengths and limitations. And based primarily on the rider’s interests, not peer or parent pressure. Nor on a coach’s ambition.

T. Time- based. Putting a deadline on each goal keeps riders motivated to practice.