GOAL SETTING FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES
WHAT IS IT? Goal setting means endeavoring to achieve a specific level of performance in a certain period of time. Goals usually focus on improving a measurable skill, such as “I will increase my steals by two per game, make crisper passes, and improve my shot selection”.
WHY BOTHER? Goal Setting is a valuable and widely used technique in all areas of life. Business, personal, academic, or athletic situations all require goal setting to experience a higher level of performance. Goal Setting provides focus, facilitates effort, and leads to improved or new skills.
HOW CAN IT WORK FOR YOU? In general, the following five strategies provide the basis for utilizing goal setting as a way for improving performance.
(1) Make goals challenging yet realistic – Finding the right balance between pushing oneself without setting yourself up for failure. Example: Become a better player by passing only to an open player.
(2) Make goals specific – Put a date and number on it. Examples: By Dec. 1rst I will have my shooting percentage up by 15%.
(3) Make goals short term & long term – Use short term goals as stepping stones toward long term goals. Example: Preseason-Get my hands stronger, add a three point shot to my game. Season – get five assists per game. Have a shot percentage around 50%.
(4) Implement strategies to achieve goals – In order to obtain your specific goals, you must develop specific skills for achieving them. This can be broken down to three separate times of year.
- Develop enhanced weight training/flexibility program
- Study video of you and some professionals.
- Work with the trainer/coach on techniques & strategy
- Work with the trainer coach on techniques & strategy
- Start to narrow down the focus specific to the skill(s) you are working on.
- Set specific goals for practice.
- Monitor progress (see below). Continue to make refinements on skills during practice.
- Study video of yourself with your trainer or coach.
(5) Chart it – This is absolutely critical and needs to be part of daily routine. Get obsessive. Example: Use index card or make a chart. Put it in a visible place, such as inside your locker; make a copy and place it in your travel bag during away games.
(6) Evaluate – It is mandatory to continually evaluate and assess the effectiveness of your goals. Goals can change. A player needs to evaluate with input from others (coaches, trainers, and performance specialists). Establish regular meeting times to evaluate goals. Example: Ask your coach or trainer if you can meet with them before or after practice bi-weekly.
SETTING A PLAN
1) Before beginning a program, it is important to set your goals in writing with input and assistance from others.
2) Don’t do too much all at once. Keep it manageable by starting with one or two goals.
3) Take it seriously and make it a part of your training. Regular re-evaluation of goals is critical for success.