by Andrew Richardson Uploaded July 7th 2013


We all want to be smarter but I don’t mean getting a higher grade in an exam I am talking about the S.M.A.R.T.E.R principle for sportsmen and women. This principle is used by athletes to reach their goals and is used in the short and long term physical and mental preparation.


Let’s break the acronym down;


S: Specific. The training, preparation, diet all must be aimed towards one sport. It has to be specific there is no point of you are training to be a swimmer and you are doing marathon road races. There is no specific sporting benefit, there is a physical benefit especially in the cardiovascular system but that will not correlate into the swimming environment. You need to be working specifically for your goal you want to achieve e.g. you want to pass maths do more maths not play rugby. 


M: Measureable. Its concerned with the performer must be prepared to evaluate their process critically and adjust their goals as necessary. After doing fitness testing or an event an athlete who is already achieving a set goal may need to reassess their goals. 


A: Agreed. These goals you have set yourself, you must agree in trying to complete them as if you don’t want to do them or you are half interested you will never achieve them. There must be no doubt in your mind when setting yourself these goals. These goals will be agreed with a coach or training partner that they can help guide you towards them. 


R: Realistic. When you are setting goals they need to be realistic there is no point in setting unreachable goals as this will demotivate you and you will end up trying to complete the set task. When setting goals they need to be broken down into short term and long term goals. The short term goals are described as stepping stones towards reaching the long term objective. E.g. within my own sport of powerlifting I have set my targets for the squat, bench press and deadlift to hit by the end of year. So far I am on target to reach them. 


T: Time Bound. The goals you have set yourself must be within a time frame e.g. being a competition in 3 months, the next Tour de France or the Rio 2016 Olympics. Athletes need their goals to fit within their competition schedule. When the competition comes around as an athlete you want to be in your best shape, performing well, confidence is high, no worries and happy with all the preparation leading up to it. When the goal is set (going back to the realistic point) it has to be completed within the set the time frame and not after and the goal is achievable to the athlete.


E: Exciting. When you are setting goals make sure you find excitement when you are doing them as it will make the whole process more enjoyable. Set a goal that makes you want to push through the pain barrier, makes you stay up all night working at it. There is no point doing something you hate you must want to do it and doing it for a goal will make it worthwhile. 


R: Recorded. What you do during your long term plan of achieving set goal/goals you must record every detail such as training what sets, reps, weight, rest periods, tempo, how you where feeling that day, your diet, sleep how many drinks did you have. This creates an image of your daily habits and you will be able to see a pattern of yourself e.g. after Monday and Tuesdays training on Wednesday I find the training hard. Then you ask yourself why? I’m not doing the same muscle groups then you work out it’s because you are getting little sleep on Tuesday nights due to you going out. These small things if you change can make huge differences in the long term in you achieving your goals. 


When I am talking about goals they are divided into the following:- Outcome Goals: are concerned with the end result e.g. making your national team- Process Goals: are centred on the technical elements that underpin performance as a focus for development. E.g. a weak grip caused a foul in the deadlift, this needs to be addressed and fixed so it does not occur again. - Performance Goals: relate to the achievement of a performance e.g. getting a personal best lift in the bench press- Short Term Goals: are the stepping stones/building blocks that need to be achieved consistently leading to the successful realisation of long term goals.- Long Term Goals: have a larger objective and can only happen once short term goals have all been completed. By using the SMARTER principle we can all improve our sporting performance.


Referencing from Edexcel Pe A2 Textbook and A2 Pe Coursework.










Andrew Richardson

Andrew is an 18 year old student at Coleraine Academical Institution. Andrew holds the world records in the squat and deadlift at -90kg T3 and is one of the brightest young talents in the country. He aims to pursue a degree in Sports Science.