Goal Getting Part II: Seeing Your Goals Through

After you've set your process, performance, and outcome goals, it's very important to track them if you want to achieve them. Although goal monitoring is very important, it's often very neglected by athletes and coaches alike (Burton & Raedeke, 2008). Monitoring involves tracking goal progress and updating goals when necessary to keep athletes focused and drive their confidence. Goal tracking falls short when we don't have a routine structure in place to see this through (Burton & Raedeke, 2008; Harkin et al., 2016). We recommend a 3-step approach:

  1. Track - this is the difficult part of the goal getting process. Get in the habit of tracking before season marches on and the goals are lost (Burton & Raedeke, 2008; Harkin et al., 2016).

  2. Feedback - adding feedback to goal pursuit raised performance by ~17% (Mento, 1987).

  3. Re-Evaluate - Update or adjust goals where necessary.

The 3-Steps for Athletes

1. Track:

  • Self-monitor goal progress daily.

  • Use a performance journal (or keep a note on your smart phone) of your goals for that week at practice and in competition.

  • After each practice or competition evaluate your process and performance goals. This is a little bit more than just 'did you achieve them?', because that's just a simple yes or no. Some starter questions for deeper reflection may look like...

  1. What helped you achieve them?

  2. What prevented you from achieving them? (Inside and outside your control considerations)

  3. If you didn't achieve them, but saw improvement, what did that look like and how can you keep it going?

2. Feedback:

  • Talk to your coach(es) about 1) what you're doing well so you can continuing doing it; and, 2) what they observed that you can work on.

3. Re-Evaluate:

  • If you achieved your performance goal, what's next? What is going to keep moving you forward to your outcome goal?

  • If you're noticing discrepancies between feedback and self-monitoring or, after days or a couple weeks you're not inching anywhere close to your performance goal, now is the time to re-examine if they were realistic (not too high) and achievable (do you have/can you develop the technical, tactical, physical, and mental to get this?)

  • If the latter, really analyze if you are tackling the right process goals for it.


The 3-Steps for Coaches

1. Track:

  • Plan for goal evaluation procedures. By having a plan in place you're more likely to stick to consistent feedback, goal evaluation, and maintenance from the start.

  • If you're apart of a larger coaching staff, you can have individual coaches track specific athletes (i.e. Defensive Coach monitors defensive positions...) to help break it up or utilize the manager of a team. This is especially useful on larger teams (lacrosse, American football, Australian rules football, ice hockey, rugby...). If it's just you, it might be easier to meet with groups of individuals at time during your scheduled feedback (e.g. by class or year, by position...) instead of trying to meet individually with every single athlete. Use both practices and competitions to assess for technical, tactical, physical, and mental performance and development.

2. Feedback:

  • Aside from the drill to drill feedback you provide at practice, set aside a time weekly to go over your goals for the team and athletes individually. In the past we've had coaches adopt "Feedback Friday" or other schedules to make it a regular part of team culture so that everyone was prepared to give and receive feedback or goal adjustments.

3. Re-Evaluate:

  • Athletes exceeding their goals should be made increasingly more difficult. Don't just give them performance goals to hit, help them craft the process goals to set them up for success.

  • Athletes not meeting their goals need careful assessment to determine what's interfering. It could be as simple as the goal was too difficult for their current skill level, or as complex as psychological barriers (e.g. perfectionism, choking under pressure...). Be sure to tune into any potential injuries that may be hindering the process too and that they're receiving the support they need and being met where they are at.



References:

1. Burton, D. & Raedeke, T. D. (2008). Sport Psychology for coaches. Human Kinetics

2. Harkin, B., Webb, T. L., Chang, B. P. I., Prestwich, A., Conner, M., Kellar, I., Benn, Y., & Sheeran, P. (2016). Does monitoring goal progress promote goal attainment? A meta-analysis of the experimental evidence. Psychological Bulletin, 142(2), 198–229.

3. Mento, A. J., Steel, R. P., & Karren, R. J. (1987). A meta-analytic study of the effects of goal setting on task performance: 1966–1984. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 39(1), 52–83.


 

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