Get going with goals

Goal setting has been shown to be one of the most important motivational tools a tutor or coach can use when developing the skills of a participant in an activity. The principles of goal setting are generic and apply across the board to many activities including ringing. Goal setting improves performance by increasing motivation.

Motivation is the key to progress

Attempting to develop ringers’ skills without a plan, involving goals can be compared to getting into a car with no steering wheel. A lot of distance may be covered but it is not possible to ensure that it is in an appropriate direction!

Goal setting can have a positive impact on your ringers by:

  • Enhancing motivation
  • Boosting confidence
  • Reducing anxiety and fear of failure
  • Promoting a positive mental attitude

Goals provide direction by providing a target to aim for, people know what they are trying to achieve.

Goals can help with persistence both when being successful and when struggling to become successful. When a goal is achieved confidence is increased, ringers feel they are doing well, they feel good about themselves. When things are not going so well, ringers will look for new strategies to help them achieve what they want. This could be by attending more practices or a course.

If there is no goal to aim for when making progress gets tough ringers are likely to quit.

Setting goals successfully is not easy

When setting goals for your ringers you need to think of goals for the band as a whole and goals for the individual ringers within the band. Ringers need to be involved in the goal setting process, in this way they will be committed to achieving the goals.

With early ringers moving on to Plain Hunt or their first method, the learning curve becomes steeper and more challenging for the ringer, their progress frequently slows down. At this stage it is very easy to lose ringers as they find the learning process hard and fear that they will not be able to achieve what they want to.

To reduce the likely hood of losing people at the “improver” stage there are a few basic principles which should be remembered:

  • Keep things fun and enjoyable
  • Let ringers develop at their own speed
  • Remind ringers what they have achieved so far

Keep things fun and enjoyable – the fasted way to loose people is to make things boring for them. Keep the atmosphere light- hearted and inject some humour. A Tower Captain training a new band who were at the stage of ringing rounds created a positive attitude with a couple of phrases. When the band was attempting to ring rounds rather unsuccessfully he would say “Go rounds!” The ringers were made aware that things were not as they should have been but there was no implied criticism. After a particularly poor attempt he would say “Well, it’s a jolly good thing that we are not the Red Arrows!” which brought the message home with humour.

Let ringers develop at their own natural speed. Don’t force your expectation onto people you may scare them off by expecting them to develop more quickly than they are able to. This approach will also allow time for consolidation of their skills which is important for future development.

Remind people what they have achieved so far. As their rate of progress slows down your ringers will benefit from being reminded how much they have achieved already. Remind them of how their current performance contrasts with their earlier performance

Setting goals is complicated

There are many different types of goals. Long term, short term, achievement, outcome, performance, process, controllable, realistic, challenging and considerable skill in using them effectively. But if integrated into your teaching, can deliver beneficial results for your ringers.


Teacher's Guide to Learning the Ropes

A book for any ringing teacher, covering the “how to” from the first bell handling lesson to teaching someone how to ring their first method.

The Teacher's Guide and its companion publication The Ringer's Guide to Learning the Ropes are both available from the ART shop.

Pip Penney