A season without a goal is like a road trip without a destination. It may provide for a lot of fun, but you may not get anywhere, or worse still, end up somewhere less desirable than where you started.

Structured well, goals will help you to speed up the development of your race competence, as well as enable you to enjoy yourself a lot more – as you will be fully engaged in what you are doing, and will clearly see the benefits of your focussed efforts.

Goals Should Be:

  • Challenging and Achievable – one that if you push yourself, you can achieve. These two combine to produce growth, which is one of the biggest factors
    for enjoyment. The satisfaction that comes from achieving a challenging goal is priceless.
  • Measurable – so you know exactly what you need to achieve, and can monitor your progress towards it.
  • Timely – you have a timeframe in mind to achieve the goal by. However, whilst it is helpful to have a timeframe, there needs to be an element of flexibility, especially for longer term goals, as life doesn’t always work out to everyone’s schedule. Placing too much emphasis on a timeframe can make it difficult to stay motivated if things are progressing ‘too slow’, and even make it too difficult to achieve the goal at all, since too many shortcuts need to be taken.
  • Desirable – there is nothing better you’d rather spend your time working towards.
  • Believable – one that you believe in yourself to achieve. A goal may be achievable, but if deep down you don’t believe things work out for you, then it will be more difficult to make it happen. See the Beliefs chapter for more information.
  • Committable – is one that you feel calm about committing to achieving and all the consequences that come with it. If you are not at peace with it all, then explore why – you may need to change the goal, your perspective, your beliefs, or simply need more information.


There are 4 main levels of goals for your racing:

  1. Career
  2. Season
  3. Event
  4. Session eg. individual races/rides/training.

All four levels are important, and each impact upon the other.

Each sub-goal is structured to achieve the higher-level goal, so all you need to focus
upon is the short-term goal, knowing it is working you towards your long-term goal.


There are 3 types of goals:

  1. Outcome – what the outcome will be in comparison to other competitors, e.g. the finishing position of a race.
  2. Performance – what your performance will be irrespective of other competitors, e.g. a specific lap time during qualifying. It can also be something off the track, such as how long it takes you to find a suitable suspension setup for your bike (and what ‘suitable’ is).
  3. Process – how you will do something, e.g. change your body position during exit of a specific corner during practice. It could also be used off the track e.g. how you will go about working out the best suspension setup for your bike at an event.


Be wise about which of these you choose and use, as each suit different circumstances. 

Outcome Goals

These are useful to motivate you to dig deep and search for that extra bit of something that will make the difference, so are great for season, event, qualifying, and race goals. They can also bring about a lot of growth in your skills and capability.

But if you only chase the placings, you’re setting yourself up for an emotional roller-coaster, because your success will vary with the performance of others, which is something you don’t have control over.

Performance Goals

These are more reliable goals for improving and measuring your actual performance, and knowing how you are progressing in your capability as a racer, so are useful for event, during practice, qualifying, and race goals.

If you aren’t able to increase your performance goals, then you have either reached your potential (unlikely in this sport), need to bring in some process goals to narrow your focus on what will improve your performance, or need to add an outcome goal that will motivate you to stretch yourself a little.


Process Goals

Are good for getting into the nitty gritty of what you need to do to improve your skill and therefore performance. Analyse what needs to improve, and define the detail of what you will change – coaching may be useful here. Use mental rehearsal & visualisation off the track, to reduce the time it takes to make the change on track.

Process goals are most useful for practice sessions, but are also useful at a high level for season and event goals. They can also be used for developing your race-craft during qualifying and race. Avoid using them for actual race technique during the race, as your focus will be divided, and also brought into a slower conscious processing pace (than operating from your procedural memory), reducing your performance and increasing the risk of crashing.

It is also important to space out your process goals – apart from being quite fatiguing for the brain, it is best to give yourself time to properly settle into and lock in your new skill, before moving onto another one. If you try to progress at a rapid rate, you could go backwards on earlier skills, or be more likely to crash – as your focus won’t be 100% on what you are doing.



As you set your goals, try to structure them so you achieve a succession of successes i.e. allow your ability to build over the year so at each event you achieve your goals but are still challenged, rather than setting them high in the hope they will work out – because if one fails you will lose the positive momentum that continued success brings, and the self-confidence that comes with it.




Be prepared to change your goals, as circumstances can change, especially those things out of your control, so the goal(s) you have set may be no longer appropriate in the current situation. It is therefore important to regularly check your goals are still appropriate and challenging, achievable, desirable, etc.

If they are not, then adjust them so they are. The objective is to continue to grow and enjoy yourself, not frustrate and/or risk yourself trying to achieve the unachievable, or cruise through without challenge and therefore no sense of satisfaction or achievement.