Mental Training – Goal Setting 1

Mental training lends itself well to a philosophy aimed at athletes’ growth and development – physical, mental, social, moral and emotional. In fact, mental training is training in life skills such as learning how to set goals, how to handle pressure and criticism, and how to say focused on the task at hand.  There are four major mental training tools to develop your athletes’ mental skills, such as goal setting, imagery, relaxation and self talk.

Goal Setting

The good thing for most athletes is that goal setting is as natural and inevitable as breathing. Virtually all athletes are intuitively goal driven. Setting realistic but challenging short-term goals provides a sense of direction, thereby increasing motivation as reflected in increased effort and persistence. Challenging, realistic goals help athletes get into their optimal energy zone and direct that energy to task at hand. Although striving to win is important, focusing on winning can create excessive stress. When athletes perceive the challenge not as winning but as achieving their won realistically set performance goals, the challenge will always be near the athlete’s present skill level and will create and optimal skill-challenge balance.

Just as the farmer’s field must lie fallow every winter, so does the human body, mind and spirit need a rest, with time to reflect, recover and rejuvenate. –  Rob Sleamaker, Author of Serious Training for Serious Athletes.

Goal setting gives an athlete and edge in three areas:

  1. Direction – goals tell you where you need to go and how to get there.
  2. Feedback: goals tell you when you are making progress,
  3. Support: goals keep you going when you might otherwise give up.

What happens if I don’t set any goals? Many athletes assume, just because they are doing well within the sport, they shouldn’t set any goals for the future.  That is the point in which things go down hill, however, the athletes who do good goal setting can correct things and avoid the sprawl


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Categories: Coach's Corner

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