Also try our smart goal setting section!
Before you start your goal setting, you should set the background of sports goal setting by:
- Understanding your commitment to the sport
- Understanding the level you want to reach within the sport
- Knowing the skills that will have to be acquired and the levels of performance that will be needed
- Know where this will fit into your overall life goals
- Positive Statement: express your goals positively: ‘To execute this technique perfectly’ is a much better goal than ‘don’t make this stupid mistake’
- Be Precise: If you set a precise goal, putting in dates, times and amounts so that achievement can be measured, then you know the exact goal to be achieved, and can take complete satisfaction from having completely achieved it.
- Set Priorities: Where you have several goals, give each a priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones.
- Write goals down to avoid confusion and give them more force.
- Keep Operational Goals Small: Keep the goals you are working towards immediately (i.e. in this season) small and achievable. If a goal is too large, then it can seem that you are not making progress towards it. Keeping goals small and incremental gives more opportunities for reward. Today’s goals should be derived from larger goals.
A number of general principles should be noted about athlete goal setting:
Set Performance, not Outcome Goals
This is veryimportant. You should take care to set goals over which you have as much control as possible – there is nothing as dispiriting as failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons beyond your control such as poor judging, bad weather, injury, excellence in other athletes, or just plain bad luck. Goals based on outcomes are extremely vulnerable to things beyond your control.If you base your goals on personal performance targets or skills to be acquired, then you can keep control over the achievement of your goals and draw satisfaction from them. For example, you might achieve a personal best time, but still be disqualified as a result of a poor judging decision. If you set an outcome goal of being in the top three, then this will be a defeat. If you set a performance goal of achieving a particular time, then you will have achieved the goal and can draw satisfaction and self-confidence from its achievement.
Another flaw is where outcome goals are based on the rewards of winning, whether these are financial or are based on the recognition of being a winner. In early stages these will be highly motivating factors, however as they are achieved, the benefit of winning another prize or championship at the same level reduces. You will become progressively less motivated. One difficulty you will face is that people who are ignorant of sports psychology, such as many poor coaches, parents, media, fans, etc. base their assessment of success on winning. This completely ignores the effect of raw luck on high quality performance. As with many things, stick with what you know is right rather than what uninformed people think.