Goal setting is all about making a vision for what you want in the future, and then creating a real strategy to MAKE IT HAPPEN! Goal setting requires a clear plan for achievement, not just a statement of something you wish would happen in the future. So don’t just set goals, set D.A.N.C.E. Goals!

D.A.N.C.E. goals

Maybe you’ve heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals, a famous acronym from the world of business and education all about how to set goals that you’re more likely to achieve. It’s a great strategy based in science, that teaches us there are principles of goal setting that make success more likely. Well, I’ve taken it a step further and created D.A.N.C.E. goals! This is one way to take the valuable goal setting practices into our dance team world.

Before I get into the strategy itself, a simple reminder that goal setting is a huge part of success, if it’s done right. Meaning the goals are clear, you set time to track and evaluate them, and stay focused throughout your season. For more on why goal setting works and why it’s important read this

D.A.N.C.E. Goals for Success

D: Difficult but realistic

You want to set goals that are challenging, but realistic. If winning a championship is realistic for your team, go for it. Want to be top 10? Set that goal instead. If you want to improve team bonding, pay attention to what’s realistic. Do you want 5 outside bonding events in the next two months, or 10? Make sure your goals are challenging, but they are realistic and achievable as well.

A: Assessable and specific

A good goal is something clear that you can track and measure. If you want your stamina to increase before your first competition you might set a goal run every Monday. That’s a start, however, a better goal is to improve everyone’s mile run time by a certain %, rather than everyone run under 9 mutes, or just to have the goal to run every Monday. Make it a clear outcome. Something you will KNOW when you have achieved that goal and you can track and assess your progress along the way.

N: No Negative phrasing

Goals should be positive and encouraging. So when you write your goals, use positive language and avoid wording your goal in a way that is to avoid something or not do something. For example, a goal about academic eligibility could read either, “No one gets suspended all season.” Or “Everyone stays eligible and can perform with us all season.” They are both clear and you’ll know if you hit that goal or not. But the positive phrasing is much more psychologically powerful and inspiring.

C: Competition and practice goals

Many teams set clear competition and outcome goals, like ranking at the state and national championship. However, it’s essential to set clear practice goals as well to ensure you are making real progress towards your competition goals. .

D.A.N.C.E. goals

Set goals around training, effort, how many times you want to be able to run your pom routine full out, everyone being accountable at practice etc. Those everyday little practice goals are what will make the big competition goals achievable.

E: End dates

Every good goal has an end date. You have to know when you want it to happen if you want it to happen during a specific season. If you want team bonding events to happen, set dates and break up the season. Two by Oct 1st, two more by holiday break etc. Whatever your goals, set an end date, and you can even take it a step further and set progress dates along the way to assess where you stand. That way you can make adjustments to your achievement strategy as needed.,

Get Started on those D.A.N.C.E Goals!

That’s it! A pretty straightforward way to set clear D.A.N.C.E. goals that will truly challenge your team this year and make your desired success even more likely. Choose 3-5 team goals, write them out at D.A.N.C.E. goals with clear achievement strategies, and make your dreams come true this year!

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Goal setting is an essential part of your coaches toolbox. But I see so many mistakes from coaches who set out to create a goal setting strategy, and fall short.

Check out these 5 rookie mistakes and make sure you're set up for the most successful season yet!

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