You know when you have a game at an away field, and you have no idea how to get there? You know address of where you want to go, but which roads do you take, what exit off the highway, and is it right or left at that intersection? You could try making it up as you go, take a few wrong turns, hit a few dead ends, waste some gas and HOPE you make it to the field OR you could do what I usually do and go to google maps and find some directions. To get the directions you input your current location and final destination, and google gives you step by step directions to follow to get you there.
How does this relate to setting goals? Well, it’s exactly the same process! With setting goals, you know where you are, and you know where you WANT to be, but how do you get there unless you set out some directions for yourself?
When athletes set goals, so often they say “I want to win the championship”, or “I want to make the team”, or “I want to get a scholarship” The problem with these goals is that there is no mention of how you are going to achieve them. They are final destinations, and as with the map example above, if you don’t have the in between steps, it is easy to get lost along the way and not actually reach the ultimate goal.
I read an article recently on goal setting that makes a similar point. It was written by mental training coach Joshua Medcalf as a guest post for the changing the game project. In this post Medcalf encourages athletes not to set goals, he says goals are like wishes and “100% of our energy should be on the process, controllables, and more specifically, our commitments … what you are committed to sacrificing and doing with your 24 hours a day to close the gap between where you are at, and where you want to be.”
In this case the process, controllables, and commitments are the directions on your map. It is ok to say “I want to win the championship” but only IF you then have a series of process goals to help you get there. What are you committed to doing in order to win that championship? How are you going to do it? Who do you need to help you do it, and and when are you going to get it done? It is these little process goals, little successful moments along the way, that keep you motivated on the long journey.
Lets put this into a recruiting situation and look at two athletes who “want to be an NCAA athlete”
Athlete ONE: This athlete is in the fall of her grade twelve this year, she works hard every day, plays on multiple teams, regularly does extra training sessions with a personal trainer, works hard in school, gets her homework done and has good grades. Her coaches love her because she is a great leader on the field, is very coachable, and takes directions well. This athlete has known that she wants to be a collegiate athlete since she was in grade 10, she has attend recruiting tournaments but has never had an active plan related to recruiting, communicating with coaches, making college decisions or preparing for the transition to college sports. This athlete’s favourite schools have already filled their openings for the next freshman class, but she hopes to make a good impression with some other coaches at a fall showcase tournament and is waiting to see what offers she will get from schools.
Athlete TWO: Is in the fall of grade 11, she is on all the same teams as Athlete One, is also exceptionally skilled, has a great attitude and work ethic, is a leader and is an honour roll student. Athlete Two wrote down her recruiting goals last year, she identified her ultimate goal, AND outlined specific directions for herself which she has been following closely. Athlete two is in regular communication with coaches from her top three dream schools, and is in a good position to be offered scholarship to each of these schools. She expects to make a verbal commitment in the spring or summer and will sign a letter of intent in the fall of her grade twelve year. She will then use the last year of high school to prepare herself for the transition to university level athletics.
So you see, without a plan you leave a lot of your future to chance. You MIGHT end up at exactly the right school for you, however it is just as likely that you end up feeling obligated to accept the only scholarship offer you get, simply because you really want to be a college athlete or even perhaps being disappointed at not getting any offers and settling for playing for a local club team while attending a university. WITH a plan, you are in complete control of your future, you are developing valuable life skills (like time management, communication, goal setting) and you can be confident that you are taking the proper steps toward your final goal
Here’s an example of a goal map for recruiting. You might expect to have a different list or set of directions for academics, sport training and fitness, and one for your recruiting plan. Each goal should lead sequentially to the next, similar to how a map works.
It takes a lot of work to get to that final destination, but with a solid plan in place to keep you motivated and on the right track it is easier. There is a collegiate opportunity for everyone, but that opportunity presents itself at different schools for everybody, and it is up to you as an individual to identify what you want and need, and set out a plan of action to reach that goal!
Have you created a road map to your ultimate goal? Meet with an access-sport recruiting consultant to help outline what you need to be recruited by YOUR dream schools!
Learn more about the recruiting process, and transition to university athletics at our Showcase Seminar! Athletes that are registered for SHOWCASE 2015 will receive TWO FREE TICKETS, Other individual tickets will be limited and available for purchase, more information TBA.
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