If you ask athletes about their goals, often times you will hear their largest dreams: To play professional ball, Compete in the Olympics, Get an NCAA scholarship at a Division I university. These goals/dreams are important and provide value in helping to push the athlete to try their hardest every time they step out onto the field/court. But what about the goals they need to reach in order to make their dreams a reality? Athletes need to create goals that span across their athletic career, but must also make goals for each game, each time they step out onto the field.
The best way to structure effective goals in sports is to start at the top with the biggest goal (i.e. NCAA scholarship); in order to know which way to go, you need to know where you want to end up. Then work your way backwards identifying the steps necessary to make that goal a reality. In one year what do you hope to accomplish? 6 months? 1 month? 1 week?
Even though the large goal is important, it is the smaller ones that are going to ensure that you are taking the necessary steps to improve your performance each time you step out onto the field- games and practice! The small goals help keep you focused on the present moment- keep you moving forward each and every day.
It important to review your goals- they are there to be a map guiding you to your final destination. Keep in mind that the goals are not written in stone, so do not be afraid to adjust or modify them. Furthermore, do not let your goals become added pressure. Goals are meant to be encouraging and motivating, not to become burdensome, so if you find yourself becoming frustrated when you review your goals, break them down more, perhaps to the technique needed in order to improve small areas of your performance.
Finally, keep your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and within a time frame. If you or someone you love is having a difficult time defining their goals our sports psychologist can help. MVP Mentality Sports Psychology is a sports psychology group dedicated to helping athletes of all ages and levels. Contact our lead sports psychologist, Dr. Lauren Hennessy today to learn about an individual analysis to create a plan of action to overcome your fears.