Friday, September 5, 2014

Goal Setting

Today I'm going to talk about goals. Why do we have goals? Why are they important? And what type of goals should you set? I assume most of you have heard the acronym about setting 'SMART' goals. S - specific M - measurable A - adjustable R - realistic T - time based. I've also heard the R standing for reassess. Anyways, this is the time of year when most people will be or should be thinking about their goal setting if they haven't already done so. I believe in writing them down and keeping them somewhere you can see them on a daily basis. It's also important to make your goals challenging but realistic. Here are 2 of my favourite quotes on goal setting. You can find more on my page http://www.serioussquash.com/p/some-of-my-favourite-inspiring-quotes.html

'The only limit to what you can have in your life is the size of your imagination and the level of commitment to making it real.' And 'the most important key to goal setting is to find a goal big enough to inspire you.'

Goals should be set for short term (as my 2 week challenge) building up to your annual goals and your long term and dream goals. In this sense it's like a pyramid. You can have even shorter term goals for each practice and day as you can't get to the top without that first step. Little step by step and you will get to your midrange goals.

So how do you know what type of goals to set? Here are some basic topics that you can use for setting some goals. Try setting at least 1 outcome goal, 1 technical goal, 1 tactical goal, 1 physical goal, and 1 psychological goal. Many people focus on just their outcome goals, but it's the process goals (technical, tactical, physical, and psychological) that allow you to attain your outcome goals. Especially for kids, when all their peers are improving as well saying you want to beat so and so or attain a certain ranking is fine and can be used as motivation and an incentive to work harder and practice more, but I believe in focusing on your own development and improvement. Set good and challenging goals, continue working towards them and you will eventually get to where you want to be.

So you've set some great goals. Make sure you have a plan on how you're going to achieve them! It's easy to daydream, but it's about taking the appropriate action. If you want to improve your footwork for example, how exactly are you going to do this and how often are you going to practice this? And when you are working on a specific area of your game, how are you going to measure your improvement? If you don't do this you may not feel you are improving as it happens bit by bit. If you can try and quantify/measure what you want to improve. If you can't think of an effective way to do this, you can record one of your matches or training sessions. Of course this means you have to do the same to reassess in a Time-based fashion.

Sharing your goals with your coach, parents, or a friend give life to your goals and holds you accountable. If you set goals and nobody knows about them, you could end up getting a little frustrated or down after a practice and easily give up on your goals because you tell yourself, 'oh what was I thinking, I can't do that.' If you've shared your goals with someone you are more likely to preserver and have that support during those challenging times. We all have those doubts from time to time and that's when it's most important to have that person to talk to.

I will have my kids set goals in their journals. Some of them are new to goal setting while others have done this for a few years. I anticipate the ones that are more experienced will also have a better idea of what they need to focus on the upcoming season to get to where they want to be. I believe goal setting is an important motivational tool and should be used especially for kids. Again, sometimes we look too short term and simply at the results in an individual sport. But with peeper goal setting we can monitor our own improvement and feel good about where we are heading and the work we've put it.

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