How many times have you been asked about your goals? Without fail this is something that is questioned every year. But, how many times have you been taught how to make goals you can track and measure throughout the season? There are three types of goals you should absolutely be creating throughout the season and those include: Performance, process, and outcome goals.
THREE TYPES OF GOALS
- Performance Goals
- Process Goals
- Outcome Goals
Let’s start with the end in mind, which would be your outcome goals. This is your long-term goal. What do you want to accomplish at the end of the season? Maybe you want to be defensive player of the year or team MVP. Maybe you want increase your points per game by 5 points or average 10 assists per game. When it’s all said and done, where do you want to be?
Next, we have your process goals. You hear “trust the process” almost everywhere now. But what does that really mean? What is the process? The process is what you do in between games. It’s the journey. It’s the training you do with your skills trainer every week. It’s you being the first to show up to practice and the last to leave. It’s the work you put in the weight room. Maybe you want to increase your shot percentage by 10% on the shooting gun. Maybe you want to make sure you eat 3 healthy meals each day. Maybe coach has a timed drill you complete each practice and you want to get faster every week. The process looks different for everyone. Once you know what your outcome goals are you can start understanding what the small steps or “process” must be to get there.
Next, you absolutely need performance goals. Performance goals are the specific goals you make before each game or “performance”. Performance goals are broken down into 4 categories: Mental, physical, tactical, and technical.
FOUR CATEGORIES OF PERFORMANCE GOALS
A mental goal is the type of mindset you want to commit to during the game. You want to stay composed even when you don’t agree with the ref’s call. You want to let go of mistakes quicker. You don’t want to get distracted by trash talk.
A physical goal might be being 100% focused on your pre-game warm up and making sure you are completely stretched. A physical goal could be related to your pre game meal and staying hydrated.
A tactical goal is based on your strategy or game plan. Maybe you want to make smarter shot selections or work on not forcing any passes. If you’re a point guard, maybe you want to work on executing and calling that one play you keep forgetting.
A technical goal is your technique! Maybe you need to work on holding your follow through or using your body more to protect the ball. Maybe you need to focus on getting the right position under the basket when posting up.
Some games you may need all your performance goals or sometimes you may need to focus on just couple. They are all a part of the performance puzzle. Try sharing these performance goals with your coach and get feedback on them.
So you have your goals set up for the season, but homework is getting intense, the conditioning at practice is killing you, and last game didn’t go how you hoped it would. It doesn’t matter what it is – something is going to challenge your motivation at some point. How do you set these goals and stay motivated enough to pursue them and work hard? Motivation is a personal thing. It can be here today and gone tomorrow. So don’t base your motivation on a feeling – you will lose your consistency. Go beyond feelings. Create standards of excellence to live by and write them down. Rely on your values. Who do you want to become? Fight for that. In addition, what is your purpose as a basketball player? What is your WHY? Why do you play? Usually we don’t get burned out or lose motivation because of what we are doing, but because we forget why we are doing it. If you want it bad enough, your “why” will push you through.
Mental Skills to Help Reach your Goals
I won’t just teach you how to set goals and leave you to figure out the rest for yourself! Achieving your goals and dreams takes more mental toughness than anything else. That mental toughness can be trained just like any other basketball skill you have. A few mental skills that would help you along the way would be:
THREE TYPES OF MENTAL SKILLS
- Keeping your goals visible
- Being open to feedback
Visualization and imagery has been shown to improve performance. It’s not a magic trick. Spend a few minutes everyday and a few minutes before every game visualizing yourself accomplishing your performance goals and accomplishing your outcome goals. Visualize yourself scoring those 20 points. Visualize yourself making free-throws under pressure. Visualize yourself receiving that defensive player of the year award at your team banquet. If you can visualize it, it’s possible. Be aware that visualization is a skill that you have to train your mind to get better at. It doesn’t come natural to everyone.
Write down your goals, both individual and team goals. Put them somewhere you will see them daily. Put them on your locker or on your mirror. Write them in your phone and put them as your lock screen. Get a journal or notebook and write your performance goals before each game.
Listen! There are so many talented players out there, but too many of them won’t make it because they don’t know how to take criticism. Knowing how to be coachable and receive feedback is a mental skill. Be open to feedback from people you trust. Your personal trainer might know your game better than anyone; listen to their feedback. Your coach controls your minutes; figure out what he/she is looking for and add that to your goals. Feedback is what pushes us forward. It’s how we get better.
Coach Brittany is the founder and mental performance coach for Heart & Soul Consulting in Sacramento, California. She offers 1-on-1 mental training in person and via phone/Skype. She also works with all kinds of teams at every level throughout the season. Contact her via email or social media if you want to take your game to the next level and increase your mental toughness.