Having an involved goal setting process is a key to attaining any dream or vision, and is recommended to anyone trying to accomplish something of significance and specifically athletes. Setting goals help to increase motivation, commitment, direction, and helps to assess strengths and weaknesses. In addition, having a goal setting process can help an individual track their progress and
know when they are behind their set time-table.
For younger aspiring players, it is important to involve coaches and parents in this process. In fact, parents and coaches can and should help student-athletes to set goals. If every party invested in the athlete’s success are aware of and understand the athlete’s goals, that support system will greatly increase the likelihood of success. If there is a coach that doesn’t value goal setting but you would like them to be included in individual and/or team goals, it may be in your best interest to approach the coach in a diplomatic fashion. Instead of informing the coach of what he is lacking in his or her philosophy, maybe say, “I read an interesting article outlining the importance of goal setting that I would like to share with you.”
There are four types of goals that every athlete should set: Long term, intermediate, short term, and immediate or process goals. Process goals aid in keeping the athlete progressing on a daily basis and builds confidence. Perfectionists may view every goal as a task to accomplish and may cause burn out. Instead it is better to uses these process goals as general and adaptable guidelines. Long-term goals are the end goals that the athlete wishes to accomplish, such as getting a college scholarship or getting a professional contract. Intermediate goals are not necessarily long term, but are down the road a bit. This may include losing 15 pounds before the season starts or breaking a record. Short-term goals are those that are right in front of you, such as getting a particular grade on an upcoming exam. Immediate or process goals are the daily goals that are set out, such as running 2 miles for a warm-up, or shooting 450 shots before the day ends. All of these goals are vital and equally important.
S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting
S – Specific goal setting is important. Setting vague result in little motivation and direction. Knowing exactly what you want to accomplish helps give a sense of direction.
M – Measureable If you can’t measure your progress then there is no way to track if you are moving towards achieving your goals. Assign a quantitative scale to measure your goal, whether it’s time, amount of money, how many pounds to lose in a given amount of time, or a shooting percentage increase, you must be able to track and measure it.
A – Adaptable and Achievable Goals must be achievable and adaptable. This means keeping your goals realistic. If you are 7 foot tall, the chances of you becoming and Olympic level gymnast are slim to none. Therefore this goal is not achievable. Adaptable means that they can be altered when needed in order to better fit the current circumstances.
R – Realistic Set a realistic goal. This goes hand and hand with achievable. Make your time table a realistic measure for you to achieve.
T – Time Based Goals must be time based and always have a different time limit. This gives a deadline and thus puts more pressure on the goal setter to take action daily. It is important to have a finish line and this will help you develop your plan of action or goal schedule.
Now that you know the guidelines of successful goal setting, do the following exercises to help get started:
- Write Down One Sport Goal for the season or off-season:
- Explain how each part of your goal satisfies each principle of SMART goal setting:
- Create a table that outlines your immediate or process goals to your long term or dream goal. Every long term goal should have a immediate, short term, and intermediate that helps lead up to reaching your dreams.
- List two places where you were post your goals so you can see them everyday.
- List one person you will share your goals with. Make sure this person will support and hold you accountable!
- Next, write down 3 goals that you have a high desire to accomplish: one sports goal, one academic and/or work goal, and one goal of choice (sport, academic, personal, ect.):
- Create a plan of action, and create a daily list of goals that will help you achieve.