Goal Setting for Fitness Testing Success

Setting goals + proper training = results at next testing

Submitted by SXS Fitness owner & Osler U16 coach, Stefan Overgaard.

Now that fall is here, we turn our attention to fitness testing.  For many, it’s a dreaded, painful and sometimes humbling experience and it’s usually not the actual test itself that is feared but the outcome of the test (I say this with all due respect to box and beep tests).  I’m a big believer that if we put the time into properly preparing and manage expectations the testing experience can turn from negative to positive.

The first thing to do is set goals.  Do this now if you haven’t done it already.  There is overwhelming statics that shows achieving success is based on formal goal setting as opposed to ‘hoping for the best’.  It’s not hard, nor does it have to be complicated.  In fact, simpler is often better.  The process is as follows:  Look at your previous results, see where you need to get to, figure out your level of commitment (this is a biggie and I’ll come back to this), and finally mark down your goals and keep them in a very visible spot.  I’m a fan of the SMART goal setting system.  Most people know it but I’ll list it again:

Specific- Goals need to be clear and well definite.  E.g a poor example of a specific goal “do better than last year” or “increase overall fitness level”.

Measurable- The goal has to be objective. It’s not an opinion; you have to be able to easily compare results with clear data.  E.g increase box jump score from 50 to 58.

Attainable- A goal should be difficult to achieve but still not unrealistic. E.g increase box jump score from 50 to 80 is not likely very attainable and will end in disappointment.

Relevant- Needs to be relevant to what you are trying to achieve in the testing.  E.g a poor example would be “beat Billy in the box test” Even if Billy is known for being fit and scoring well in testing it still might not be relevant to the score you need to get.  I’d even go as far as using “winning the box test” as a poor example because even with a victory it might not be the score you need and it’s also focused on the outcome and not the process to get there making it not relevant.

Time- Goals need a timeline attached to them.  Without that, they are left open-ended and you aren’t as likely to achieve them.  There needs to be a deadline for when you must achieve the goal.

Using the box jump example, a proper goal would look like this:  Increase box jump score from 50 to 58 in 60sec by AOA Fitness testing Oct. 19th, 2019.  You can do the same with basically all the tests.  I’d recommend writing down and having them in plain view at all times (on the fridge, in the mirror in the bathroom, in your locker, on your phone etc).  Go through this with your coaches and your parents.  Doing this process doesn’t take much time and is not terribly difficult but is extremely important.

Now the hard part – following through on your commitment to achieving your goals.  I won’t get into specifics in this article but once you set the goals you have to basically reverse engineer on how you are going to get there by starting at the end (in this case fitness testing) and going back to the present day, setting up a plan on what you need to do to ensure you can achieve those goals.  Again, don’t be afraid to ask for help with this from parents, coaches or even peers. You can roughly plan on how often you need to train per week and where the focus of the training should be.  Setting a goal of increasing Penta jump from 9m to 10.5m with a plan of training once per week which involves going for a run and doing push-ups is not setting you up for success.  That’s why when you set the goals you must commit a proper plan to get you there and then, of course, you must execute it.  Good intentions and actually following through are two worlds apart and the difference between success and disappointment…  So, get a pen or your phone and write down your goals.  Don’t be afraid to reach high but be sure you are committed to the plan on getting there.  Follow the goal-setting process and instead of fearing testing and feeling disappointed with your results you can look forward to the opportunity to test how well your dedicated hard work paid off and reap the rewards of following through with your plan!