Coaches and athletes are well aware that achieving one's potential depends on both skill and motivation. Skill and motivation are, of course, directly related. Athletes who are not motivated to develop their skills will not achieve their potential.
Motivation involves striving for particular goals. Thus, success as an athlete, as a coach, and as a team depends in large part on goal setting. Coaches must have goals. Teams must have goals. Individual athletes must have real, vivid, living goals. Goals help keep everyone on target. Goals commit athletes and coaches to the work, time, pain, and whatever else is part of the price of success.
Coaches at all competitive levels are finding that specific goal-setting programs can have dramatic positive effects on both motivation and skill development. Their experiences are mirrored in the results of more than 100 scientific studies of goal-setting programs in business and industry. In over 90 percent of these studies, measurable increases in performance resulted when goal-setting procedures were introduced.
Goal setting focuses and directs one's activities. It helps athletes mobilize effort. Goals increase immediate effort as well as persistence. Athletes often develop and use new strategies for improving performance.
Here are a few ways to implement goal-setting procedures in your program.
Set specific goals in terms that can be measured.
Set difficult but attainable goals.
Set short-range as well as long term goals.
Set performance goals as opposed to outcome goals.
Express goals in positive rather than negative terms.
Set goals for both practice and competition.
Identify specific goal achievement strategies.
Record goals, achievement strategies, and target dates for attaining goals.
Set up a performance feedback or goal evaluation system.
Yard by yard it's awfully hard, but inch by inch it becomes a cinch.
There are different types of goals - process, performance, and outcome.
Process goals are actions and/or components of a movement; desired observable, measurable, and achievable end results need to be achieved with a focus on a specific process within an action. That specific action is the process goal.
Performance goals are where athletes attempt to meet a standard of performance, such as improving free throw proficiency. Performance goals are the building blocks of outcome goals.
Outcome goals are typically out of the athlete's, or the coach's, control. It's the end result of a game or having the highest batting average in the league.
For more on goal-setting, read this blog post.