In light of the advancements in performance training, many performers continue to underachieve in perhaps the most important area – mental skills training. Despite a shift in the performance community’s perception around the value of sport psychology training, by and large, athletes, coaches, and parents alike continue to be skeptical of the sport psychology field. While much of the work involved includes the nature of consulting, clients can benefit from using empirically supported techniques on their own.
One technique that should be widely used is goal setting. Setting goals is critical because it serves as the blueprint for achievement. Imagine a NASCAR team building a race car. Initial stages of planning include detailed images of what the car should look like and how they want it to perform. Next comes the manufacturing and assembly, followed by practice runs, and eventually race time. Throughout this process there may be modifications, setbacks, and areas of performance to enhance.
All the while the team has goals in mind. Goals of how the car mirrors the blueprints, how the car handles and functions, and goals of how well it performs in race conditions. Setting goals is like building and testing a high-performance racecar. The long-term reflects the vision, while the short-term involves the designing, refining and testing.
When setting a goal, identify something achievable. It can be as task-oriented as throwing a ball, or as outcome-oriented as winning a championship. It’s important to recognize what is required to accomplish a goal, and to work backwards from a designated date for achievement.
With a long-term goal in mind and a date for achieving it, you can create a road map for what’s necessary to accomplish it. Start with simple, tangible, daily goals and progress ahead one day, week, month at a time. Compounding moments over time will become your tipping point moments, just give it time and commit to the process.