The Goal Achievement Curve – Or More Of A Curl?

"curling in England"

well done coach John, Lucy, Lauren, Naomi. Hetty and Anna

The 2013 European Curling Championships saw the England Women bring home bronze medals in the B Division. That’s hugely exciting, and a great example of the goal achievement curve…

Let’s rewind the clock a bit, a few years in fact. Ernest Fenton was so frustrated at the lack of a curling facility in England, that he built one on his farm. Now that’s a whole different goal achievement, but as well as offering somewhere for the existing curlers to play, he wanted to develop the game.

Part of this long term plan was to set up two programmes – a junior coaching scheme, and a schools tournament. This meant that young players would be introduced to the game at school, and have a local facility for them to go back and play at. That model has produced world champions in many sports, the examples can be seen over and over.

In time, a team of junior girls developed, that would win the schools tournament regularly, because their school was fully on board. Then other schools took notice, and the schools tournaments became closer battles, with the social aspect of the game kicking in to bring girls from different schools together on the junior nights.

Developing on, the girls then put together an England junior team to represent at the first time in the junior European Challenge. All exciting stuff so far, eh? Well, there’s much more..!

The first time at the European challenge, I think it’s fair to say the girls took some hammering. It was a totally new experience with no reference point, but the key is that you cannot develop a reference point of experience without going out and *having* the experience.

They wanted more, and with that decision to have more came decisions to go on training course in Europe, to travel to play in Scotland to play against opposition they would learn from.

Roll on the next junior challenge, and the girls started winning games, so much so that at the last one they played in they approached games with an expectation of winning, and duly began winning lots of games. They only narrowly missed out on a place in the World Junior Championships.

The development curve would suggest victory was there for the taking, and remember it’s taken a good few years to get to this point. In the meantime though, the girls had gone and won the English national women’s tournament, booking themselves a slot in the full European Championships.

Curling is a developing game on the international scene, meaning that there are so many countries there has to be A, B and C divisions, with promotion and relegation between the groups.

If you are in the B division, as England were, the key objective is not to get relegated, as winning these divisions to get back up is really difficult, almost taking 9 wins over the week long tournament.

"curling in England"

Great shot to sum up the skills needed- aiming at an exact spot 40 metres away, and that 42 pounds of granite has nothing to stop it other than gravity. The sweepers play a huge part in influencing where it ends up – all 4 team members for every stone

The girls’ first game in the main Euros? A whopping win. That surprised some, but didn’t surprise people that knew that they had the years of the junior Euros to draw on. They were not rabbits in the headlights, they were there to win games.

Second game – win. Third game – win. Then a loss, but instead of knocking the wheels off, it saw them come back with a win in the next game. It seemed clear that instead of worrying about relegation to the C division, England would be there or thereabouts at the business end, with potential promotion to the A division, which would be HUGE!

At the semi final stage they went down to a loss, but picked themselves up to win the bronze medal game. That was a performance to make other nations sit up and take notice, and to create a buzz of excitement in the English game.

What do you think the other juniors back home think now, about what they could achieve if they follow what others have done in front of them? It inspires them, that’s what.

If you want to develop a sport, this is how you do it, you follow a model that has been proven before. If you want to develop goals as individuals, you take action, you get experience, you’re proactive in learning skills.

Formulas that I write about repeatedly, using different examples to illustrate them. I enjoy this one particularly, because I played a small part in it myself a few years ago, (a story for another article), and it’s an example from a sport I love.

Look to your own goals, whatever they may be – are you applying the formula, are you taking the action, are you putting in the work to send yourself further along the goal achievement curl?

Let me know what you think, feel free to like, share, tweet etc!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. Don’t forget to grab my motivational book ‘Transform Your Life in 21 Days! at rock bottom kindle pricing, price shooting up in 2014.


The girls have just won another bronze, this time at the European juniors in Finland. Most of the same team as won the B bronze at the main Europeans.
The alternate player last time, who did play in that tournament, was in the starting line up this time, and the alternate at the juniors this time is another young player, who also got to play to gain valuable experience.

They aslo had a player to call on who was in the GB team at the last youth Olympics. Throw in the other younger players back home, and the strength in depth is there to see.

Also worth noting that the boys got to the quarter finals, that’s a good showing.

The girls now go to these tournaments expecting to be medal contenders, and all the other teams expect England to be there or thereabouts. That confidence helps with performance, because it’s based on previous results.

All good stuff, and a goal achievement curve to watch in progress – well done girls!

Do leave a comment!

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  • What an interesting story Gordon and some important advice, too. It is so easy, when we are in that curve, to feel that it’s hard and decide we aren’t getting anywhere. So I appreciate the reminder that while we feel that we are struggling, it’s because we are taking action and learning, and we just need to keep going! Thanks 🙂

    • That’s true Harriet, it can sometimes feel that progress is not being made, when any setbacks are in fact progress. I think another key from this story is that the girls have been having fun the whole time, doing something they enjoy.

    • Thanks Christy,
      I always say that thinking of adjustments is a good sign, because it means that action has been taken, results analysed. Now, an adjustment can be tried to test for results, it’s all moving in one direction, which is forwads!
      Thanks for stopping by,

    • I hear many people say they need formulas to stick to Amanda, and nothing wrong with that. In fact, so many people could lead a much less chaotic, much more fruitful life, if they switched to using formulas. This curling story is a classic example from the sporting world.
      Thanks for visiting,

  • Fantastic girls well done ! And hopefully a great future.
    But where did the approach go wrong that the similar junior boys are missing ?

    • This is a good question Adrian!
      It could be argued that the girls can be a nightmare to organise, getting their way out of a wet paper bag might be a challenge when it comes to entering competitions, etc, but that is something they left behind them when they made the decision that they *would* enter competitions, that they *would* sort out training trips.
      If the girls had , er, organisational issues, the boys could be described as hopeless in that department, so that’s one factor.

      Another factor is that some of the boys went away for uni/gap years, and didn’t come back, or were entered into the schools tournament and played almost as a whim, the bug to play again just didn’t hit them as it did the girls.

      Another factor is that the junior girls have had a team to lookk to emulate for some time, again not applicable with the boys. There is a raft of girls pushing, some really good young players who have good technique and can put stones where asked. I was playing with one of them the other week, and noticed how many of them were playing on that particular club league night, but there were no boys. I asked her why, and she did remind me that there was a young boys team in one of the other leagues run there, so that’s something, but the boys are undoubtedly lagging behind the girls in my view.