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PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING:Clearly identify time constraints

<< FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE, Goal Setting in Sport
A TEAM APPROACH TO SETTING GOALS:The Planning Phase, The Meeting Phase >>
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VU
Sport Psychology (PSY407)
LESSON 09
PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING
Goal setting improves performance by directing attention, increasing effort and persistence, and
motivating athletes to learn new strategies. Goal setting must be well planned and effective if it is to
result in desirable performance results. The following principles should be followed by coaches and
athletes in setting effective goals.
1.
Make goals specific, measurable, and observable.
2.
Clearly identify time constraints.
3.
Use moderately difficult goals; they are superior to either easy or very difficult goals.
4.
Write goals down and regularly monitor progress.
5.
Use a mix of process, performance, and outcome goals.
6.
Use short-range goals to achieve long-range goals.
7.
Set team as well as individual performance goals.
8.
Set practice as well as competition goals.
9.
Make sure goals are internalized by the athlete.
10.
Consider personality and individual differences in goal setting.
1. Make goals specific, measurable, and observable
The terms specific, measurable, and observable are all related to one another. A specific goal is one
that focuses exactly on the goal to be achieved. For example: "shooting 80% accuracy in free-throwing
shooting" is specific, but "becoming a better basketball player" is not. Whereas a measurable goal is
one that you can quantify, in the sense that you know exactly how close you are to achieving the goal.
The general goal "to become a better server in tennis" is not measurable because you don't know when
you have achieved the goal. Similarly an observable goal is one that you can measure, because you can
observe it. For example, the goal "to hit 80% of my free throws" is observable as well as measurable,
because if I shoot with 75% accuracy, I know I have fallen short. Observable performance goals are
also referred to as behavioral or action oriented goals.
2. Clearly identify time constraints
Setting time constraint goals that are too short can make a goal seem unreachable and discourage the
athlete. Setting time constraint goals that are too distant can also have negative ramifications. Research
shows that if an athlete can realistically accomplish a goal in thirty days, don't set a goal to accomplish it
in sixty days, because the athlete will use all sixty days to realize the task.
A well-stated goal should be timely in the sense that it specifies time constraints associated with the
goal, but also timely in the sense that it reflects an appropriate amount of time to accomplish the goal.
If the time constraints is too long, the athlete may procrastinate over the achievement of the goal, while
if it is too short, the athlete will view it as unrealistic.
3. Use moderately difficult goals; they are superior to either easy or very difficult goals
Goals should be moderately difficult, so that athletes must work hard and extend themselves in order to
meet them. At the same time, however a goal must be realistic, in the sense that the athlete must believe
that the goal is achievable. If a goal is perceived by an athlete as not being realistic or achievable, she
may become discouraged and not try to achieve the goal.
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Sport Psychology (PSY407)
Recently, 52 percent of Olympic athletes indicated a performance for moderately difficult goals, whereas only 25
percent preferred very difficult goals (Weinberg, Burton, Yukelson & Weigand, 2000)
The acronym SMART has been used by sport psychologists to help athletes remember five important
characteristics of well-stated goals.
According to Weinberg and Gould (1999) goals should be:
Specific
Measurable
Action-oriented
Realistic
Timely
4. Write goals down and regularly monitor progress
An effective goal is one that you write down and monitor regularly to determine if you are making progress.
You must take care to avoid making this a laborious and tedious task. If you want to achieve a goal then writing
it down and knowing how you are doing relative to achieving the goal is of critical importance.
An effective goal is not one that you think about and then forget. An effective goal also not one that you write
down , place in a time capsule, and then open up a year later to see if you have accomplished it. For example,
Weight trainers generally are asked to keep a daily log of the amount of weight lifted and the number of
repetitions accomplished for each exercise. By recording her goal weight and repetitions for each exercise, the
athlete is able to monitor her progress on a daily or weekly basis. Without this kind of recording system, it is
unlikely that the athlete could make any sustained progress towards achieving her goals.
5.
Use a mix of process, performance and outcome goals
A multiple goal strategy will yield the best performance and psychological results. One should never use an
outcome goal strategy by itself. Outcome goals (success/failure) serve as a useful purpose when used in
conjunction with process and performance goal, but by themselves they can lead to a loss of motivation. an
athlete has a great deal of personal control over process and performance goals, but not so much in outcome
goals.
6.
Use short-range goals to achieve long-range goals.
When you set out to climb to the top of a mountain peak, your long-range goal to be on top of the mountain
looking down within a certain time frame. As you begin the steep climb, however, you almost immediately start
making short range goals. For example, you might see a plateau about one hundred yards up and set a goal to
get to that point before stopping for a rest. His process continues until you make your last one hundred yard
short range goal to reach the top of the mountain before stopping to rest.
7.
Set team as well as individual performance goals
Performance goals can be set for a group or a team just as they can be set for an individual. Research shows that
the group that set goals as a team performed better than the individual-goal group.
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VU
Sport Psychology (PSY407)
8.
Set Practice As Well As Competition Goals
Successful Olympic athletes also value the importance of goal setting for practice as well as competition
(Orlick & Partington 1988)
There are number of ways in which practice goals could help an athlete achieve competitive
performance goals. For example if a basketball player has a competition performance goal to hit 45% of
her field goal attempts, then she should have the same goal for practice. It makes no sense to practice
with no goal in mind relative to individual performance and then expect to achieve competitive
performance goals. If I am going to be a good shooter during competition, then I had to be a good
shooter in practice as well. Setting practice goals is the way to accomplish competition goal.
9. Make sure goals are internalized by the athlete
One of the most important ingredients of good goal setting is that goals are accepted and internalized
by the athlete (Locke, 1991). If an athlete sets her own goals, it is relatively certain that she will
internalize them. Conversely, if goals are assigned to the athlete by the coaching staff, it is possible that
the athlete will not feel ownership for the goals. It only means that the athlete must accept and
internalize the goals she either sets herself or is assigned by the coach. Expecting athletes to set their
goals is not always the best strategy, because they may not be aware of effective goal setting principles.
Based on their meta-analysis, Kyllo and Landers (1995) concluded that in sport it is best to let athletes
either set their own goals or participate in the goal-setting process.
Researchers say that there is no advantage to participative or self-set goals over assigned goals in terms
of goal attributes. Athletes must accept and internalize their goals regardless of who initially wrote the
goals down. Athletes must feel as though they are in control (self-determination), but it is not necessary
for athletes to set their own goals in order to feel this way.
10. Consider personality and individual differences in goal setting
When coaches are involved in the goal setting process, they should take into consideration personality
differences. Research shows that gymnasts who exhibited an internal locus of causality disposition
performed best when they used a "set you own goals" strategy; in contrast, gymnasts who exhibited an
external locus of causality performed best when they used a "coach-set goals" strategy.
The failure of a particular goal-setting plan to work with a particular athlete may be due to the
personality and psychological characteristics of the athlete, and not the goal-setting strategies employed.
References
Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York:
McGraw-Hill Companies
Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
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Table of Contents:
  1. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY DEFINED:Issue of Certification, The Research Sport Psychologist
  2. SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Successful Performance, Verbal persuasion
  3. SELECTING SELF-TALK STATEMENTS:Skill accusation, Controlling effort
  4. GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate
  5. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SPORT:Fritz Heiderís Contribution, Other Considerations
  6. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTIONS IN COMPETITIVE SITUATIONS:Locus of Causality
  7. MOTIVATION IN SPORT:Social Factors, Success and Failure, Coachesí Behavior
  8. FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE, Goal Setting in Sport
  9. PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING:Clearly identify time constraints
  10. A TEAM APPROACH TO SETTING GOALS:The Planning Phase, The Meeting Phase
  11. YOUTH SPORT:Distress and anxiety, Coach-Parent Relationships
  12. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Information Processing, Memory Systems
  13. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Measuring Attentional Focus
  14. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Personality Defined, Psychodynamic Theory
  15. THE MEASUREMENT OF PERSONALITY:Projective Procedures, Structured Questionnaire
  16. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Athletic Motivation Inventory, Personality Sport Type
  17. SITUATIONAL FACTORS RELATED TO ANXIETY AND MOOD:Type of Sport
  18. ANXIETY, AROUSAL, AND STRESS RELATIONSHIPS:Emotion and Mood
  19. ANXIETY, AROUSAL, AND STRESS RELATIONSHIPS:The Inverted-U Theory
  20. ALTERNATIVES TO INVERTED-U THEORY:Apterís Reversal Theory
  21. COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT:Measurement of Coping Skill
  22. RELAXATION STRATEGIES FOR SPORT:Progressive Relaxation, Autogenic Training
  23. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Team Energizing Strategies, Fan Support
  24. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Precompetition Workout, Individual Goal Setting
  25. IMAGERY:Skill Level of the Athletes, Time Factors and Mental Practice
  26. IMAGERY:Symbolic Learning Theory, Imagery Perspective. Sensory Mode
  27. IMAGERY:Paivioís Two-Dimensional Model, Developing Imagery Skills
  28. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Defining Hypnosis, Social-Cognitive Theory
  29. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Achieving the Hypnotic Trance, Hypnotic Phase
  30. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Psychological Skills Training Program
  31. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Performance profiling, Performance routines
  32. ETHICS IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Competence, Integrity, Social Responsibility
  33. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:Defining Aggression, Catharsis hypothesis
  34. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:The Catharsis Effect, Fan Violence
  35. AUDIENCE AND CROWD EFFECTS IN SPORTS:Social Facilitation, Crowd Hostility
  36. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Measurement of Team Cohesion
  37. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Predicting Future Participation, Team Building
  38. LEADERSHIP IN SPORT:Fiedlerís Contingency Theory, Coach-Athlete Compatibility
  39. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Special Populations, Clinical Patients
  40. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Social Interaction Hypothesis, Amine Hypothesis
  41. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:The Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory
  42. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Exercise Addiction, Bulimia Nervosa, Muscle Dysmorphia
  43. BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention
  44. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ATHLETIC INJURIES:Personality Factors, Coping Resources
  45. DRUG ABUSE IN SPORT AND EXERCISE:Stimulants, Depressants