Olli Anderson talks through setting windsurfing goals for 2023 and sticking to them, achieving what you’re planning and taking it beyond. Over to Olli for all that inspirational good windsurfing stuff.
Time and time again we hear; “This is the year I’m gonna final crack that carve gybe” and so on… 80% of New Year’s resolutions end up being unfulfilled – not just for windsurfing either! So why’s it so difficult to stick to our goals? A tough question. Yet one way to potentially achieve all your desires is implement a few ‘smart goals’.
Words: Olli Anderson.
Pics: Jonathan Cooper, Olli Anderson.
What’s a smart windsurfing goal?
A smart goal has 5 structural components to it, which ALL need to be accounted for (this goes for any goal, not just windsurfing)… They are:
- Keep your goal Specific
- Make sure it’s Measurable
- Always make it Achievable
- Is the goal Realistic?
- Keep the goal within a Time-constraint
- Set checkpoints/mini goals within your main goal; having methods of
- motivating yourself when you don’t feel like it is important to keep on
Let me set a scene. You’re at the beach, it’s your first session of the year and new-found determination is everywhere, and there are lots of familiar smiling faces knocking about. Chins start wagging and before you know it
you’re on the topic of windsurfing goals of the year. For the 4th year in a
row you’ll give the same answer; “I’m finally gonna crack those carve
gybes” which I’m sure is a goal that lots of people share, as the move is put
on a pedestal by freeriders and recreational windsurfers around the world.
As the words come out of your mouth, doubt fills your head, it’s not that you
don’t have the motivation to get them, but repeated unsuccessful attempts
leave us feeling like we aren’t moving in the right direction. Here’s a
statistic for you; 81 to 91% of New Year’s resolutions/goals are never
fulfilled. So, why is it so difficult to stick to the goals that we set ourselves?
Setting a new goal is an inherently glamorous activity. Everybody wants to be able to plane out of all their carve gybes. Truthfully, setting the goal is easy, very easy. But who wants to put the countless, grueling hours in the
cold, windy rock we call home to reach it? It’s a vital question to ask yourself when you’re setting out goals; “How much work am I willing to put up with to get to where I wanna be?” If we leave our dreams and ambitions up to the magic fairies, it’ll be another four years time stood on the same beach, surrounded by the same mates, repeating the same goal; “I’m finally gonna crack those carve gybes”.
Smart goals in depth.
Fulfilling a goal is controlled by how well you plan the goal out, and act
upon that plan. A goal without a plan is simply a wish, and unfortunately (as amazing as it would be) I don’t think we’ll find any magic lamps we can rub to emit a mystical Robbie Naish-like genie this year to do it for us. So let’s get our hands dirty, and jump head-first into goal planning using the
SMART acronym, checkpoints and evolutions.
Keep your goal Specific: “I want to become a better windsurfer” isn’t gonna cut it as it doesn’t provide any specificity or aims for us but “I’m going to learn to Carve gybe” provides a clear cut aim for our goal, it’s specific and guess what?! Once you achieve it you’ll have become a better windsurfer!
Next up is making sure it’s Measurable: “I’m going to learn to carve gybe by planing out of 5 of my attempts” provides a measurable aspect to the goal that we can work towards. The motivation you’ll get when you get your first one, and tick it off is going to leave a smile going from ear to ear and ignite a fire within you to continue on with your goal, whatever it may be!
Keep it Achievable and don’t get carried away with your goals, there’s only so much energy we’ve got to give to our windsurfing goals. Family, friends and work will get in the way and taking this into account when we set out our goals is important – how much time/energy have you got to give to your goals? Once a week? Twice a month? How long will your windsurf sessions be? Setting this out early gives us an idea of the workload we have at our
Is your goal Realistic? Arguably the most important part of goal setting – do not get carried away with goals that are out of your reach. Whether that be due to the time you can give, your windsurfing ability or even your level of fitness!
Providing a Time-constraint to help you achieve your goal is an important part of goal-setting as it gives a sense of urgency, and also ties into keeping the goal realistic. If you’re learning to get into the harness, then learning a fully planing carve gybe in two months if you only get on the water once a fortnight is unrealistic, but learning to carve gybe in 12 months might not be.
Checkpoints and evolutions.
Having smaller goals or ‘checkpoints’ that ultimately result in your main
goal are an important part of achieving that outcome as they help provide
motivation to continue on the pilgrimage you’ve set out on. You’re not
going to wake up every morning feeling ready to get to business… Some
days you’ll wake up and find the battery as flat as a fart in the van, arrive at
the spot after two hours on the phone to the AA and find the wind nonexistent, even though WindGuru promised a tempest… BUT! It’s not problem for us! In the pursuit of gybing prowess, I’ve set myself a ‘checkpoint goal’ to land 10 heli-tacks on my big freeride board and 5.2m,
on both tacks, by August to aid my rig flipping in the carve gybe as I know
this is one of my weak points.
The inverse problem: achieving goals ahead of time can be a cause for
losing interest or plateauing… “Well I’ve learnt to gybe, what’s next?” Is
probably the most asked question I’ve had from satiated windsurfers so
setting these future targets out early can really benefit your mindset
towards this damn hard sport we’ve all learned to love. Here’s a quick
example of a couple of evolutions added to a main goal (for argument’s sake
this windsurfer is struggling with their entrance to the gybe and is
windsurfing once, sometimes twice a week).
“I’m going to make 5 carve gybes on starboard tack, by the end of July (6ish months from now)”
“Land one (non-planing) duck gybe by the end October”
“Attempt 10 monkey gybes by the end of the year”
Not all your goals have to involve getting out windsurfing. Setting out 30
minutes each week for some windsurfing related knowledge you want to learn can be a great way to bring some fresh ideas into the mix. There’re hundreds of videos and articles about carve gybing and each one teaches a different method. I’m sure there’ll be one out there that resonates well with you. It’s just a matter of finding it!
As a coach, I’m 100% adamant that getting out on a big board and a small sail to throw some lightwind freestyle tricks will help your windsurfing to no end, and I’ve got plenty students that can vouch for it. Having some smaller goals that aren’t so wind dependent (especially for summer months in the UK) can be a great way to improve your sailing and work towards those biggerer goals!
I can only hope that this article has lit a fire within you, or maybe reignited a fading passion for windsurfing in 2023. Setting goals (windsurf related or not) shouldn’t be something just done on the 1st of January. Regular goal setting is a healthy habit that everyone can benefit from and should be a staple.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit it’s easy to let the windy days pass you by and staying accountable to our goals isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Having support from a community of like-minded windsurfers can be a huge pick-me up when you’re not feeling on top form (cue a shameless plug) and so I invite all of you to join my free windsurf coaching Facebook group! We’re already at 300 members, and the community that’s been created truly is something you must be a part of…
Not only that but free-to-join coaching sessions done via live stream every Sunday where I look through, analyse and provide feedback for the videos YOU have posted into the group would surely entice even the most faltering windsurfer. You can join the group by following this link (you’ll be automatically added if you answer all the questions, otherwise I’ll have to manually add you which may take a few hours).
With that, I’ll be signing off! Been a pleasure and keep your eyes peeled for some technique articles coming soon.