An Intro to Goals

"Goals, without hard work, are nothing more than wishes."- Augie Garrido

The quote above is probably my favorite of all time.  Augie Garrido has been way ahead of the curve in incorporating sport psychology into the way he coaches and his players play.  I love everything about the quote, and it is so applicable for working with amateur athletes.  When I read the quote, I think of a genie popping out a lamp to grant wishes.  People who say they have goals but do not put in the hard work may as well sit around and hope for the genie to appear.  Spoiler Alert: It's not going to happen!  There are no genies in real life, and there is no substitute for putting in work to achieve goals.  I was talking with an old friend from high school today who put it well when he said, "Playing the lottery isn't a retirement plan."  This is the same general message but with a different delivery.  No work = no reward an overwhelming majority of the time.

Whenever you ask high school athletes whether they want to play in college or not, almost every kid raises his hand.  Everybody wants to play college sports and most likely beyond college!  As kids make their way through high school, however, you find out who really wants to play college sports.  The kids who want to play in college are at every single workout.  They are in the cages working hard on the weekend.  They are taking extra jump shots, working on serves, and running routes. For those kids, playing college sports is a goal.  For the kids who say they want to play but do not put in the hard work, playing college sports is only a wish.

Goals are a very hot topic in performance psychology.  Most view the ability to understand and set goals effectively as one of the most important mental skills to have.  For me, this is kind of cool.  You're telling me I am buying into the mental side of sports just by setting goals?  That doesn't sound nearly as abstract as visualization or breathing techniques.  Goals can help provide direction for your energy and focus in practice and competition.  To relate it back to my last blog post on The Process, goals provide the vision and directions for making that process happen.

What you will find is that as you work toward your goals, you will become more in control of your preparation and performance.  The stronger your commitment to goals, the more likely that they will come to fruition.  Everyone wants to be good, but not everyone is willing to put in the work it takes to be good.  Are you willing to set goals and create a plan to accomplish them, or do you prefer to wait around hoping you win the lottery?  Then, more importantly, are you willing to follow the plan?

Here are some tips for when you set goals:

1. Make them personal:  Get input from people you trust, but your goals need to be YOUR goals.  You are the one who is going to do all of the hard work to make them happen.  Don't chase other people's dreams for you.

2. "Ink it, don't think it.": Writing goals down makes them real.  I have to admit.  This is not a strength for me. When I get started with a day, I rely too much on my brain!  My goal is to write down daily goals to increase my productivity.

3. Create strategies to achieve goals: You need directions to get to your destination, or you will just be wandering around hoping you get there.  Yes.  I know you want to hit 10 jacks this spring!  What will you do to make that happen?  Lifting? Taking extra swings? Making alterations to your approach?

4. Set both long-term and short-term goals:  Long-term goals can help create your vision.  Short-term goals provide the steps along the way.

5. Focus on what you can control:  You can't control outcomes.  You CAN control your preparation.

I've also attached a link to a Goal-Setting Handout I made for a class.  It includes many of the tips above but is more thorough in working you through setting some goals.

As always, thank you for reading the blog.  Please continue to reach out to me.  I'm loving the feedback!

@Coach_Ehrlich or ehrlichb1@gmail.com

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