Maximize Success of Goal Setting in Sports with these Tips
Sport psychologists regularly remind athletes of the importance of goal setting, as countless studies have shown that when athletes set specific, measurable, controllable goals they almost always outperform athletes who do not set goals. Goals, when written properly, mobilize and stabilize efforts toward specific targets, which in turn can increase self-confidence when the goals are reached. Why is this important? Because we know that there is a direct, positive correlation between confidence and sport performance.
Getting started with goal setting is easy — I usually recommend athletes first brainstorm all the things they want to achieve in their future. From here long-term, mid-term, short-term, and daily goals can be developed. A few additional tips to consider include:
- Goals need to be specific. Stay away from goals like “get stronger” or “be the best,” and instead develop goals not so nebulous (i.e. make 80% of my free throws).
- In addition to goals being specific, goals should be measurable (i.e. to run 20 miles this week).
- It is also important to develop goals that you control, rather than relying on luck or the help of others. For example, completing 30 minutes of cardio is under your control, while making the all-conference team is not (if it is voted on by coaches).
- Set process goals rather than outcome goals. A process goal is something you do on the way to reaching an outcome goal. For example, if earning a college athletic scholarship is the outcome goal (not 100% under your control), there are countless process goals you do control to give you the best chance at reaching the outcome goal (i.e. developing a sports portfolio, reaching out to coaches, attending sports camps, etc.).
- Write down and keep track of your goal progress. Goals are virtually worthless of you can’t remember them, so be sure to keep a sports journal and stay up on all your goal achievements.
Successful athletes often do the little things — including taking time to write goals — along their pursuit of greatness. Goal setting can be a fun, powerful, and important experience when it coems to maximizing athletic abilities, so be sure to take time out to set goals before your next sports season.
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