The importance of goal setting in athlete learning & performance

Goal setting plays a huge part in helping athletes achieve optimal performance. The goal-setting process helps them understand where their performance is currently at, and also where they want to improve, and how they’re going to go about it. It’s important for an athlete to set systematic goals that are focused on the process and performance, rather than being focused on the outcome of competition.

While winning is a great goal, setting goals that are based more around self-development, learning, and improvement are much more effective in boosting athlete performance and skill.

To understand the importance of goal setting, let’s take a closer look at what the different types of goals are.

Outcome Goals

These goals are related to winning and losing, or getting specific results in a competition. They are typically goals that aren’t under your control. This is why it’s better to focus on performance and process goals first.

Performance Goals

Performance goals on the other hand, are related to various statistics that can help a person improve at what they are trying to achieve. They are the building blocks to reach your outcome goal. For example, a golfer may analyze their game and realise that they have to hit more greens in regulation. Therefore a performance goal for the season may be to improve from hitting 50 percent of the greens in regulation to hitting 60 percent of the greens in regulation.

Process Goals

With the help of process goals, your performance goals can be reached. They are the small steps you take to get the performance and outcome goals during each training session or game. For example, when setting a performance goal of increasing the number of greens hit in regulation, the golfer may also set a process goal to go through the same routine before every shot.

By understanding these goals and the purpose for each, an athlete should first focus on setting process and performance goals rather than outcome goals, as they are goals that the athlete has complete control over.

Starting with the process goals and working your way up can help provide guidance and give you a clearer picture of what your overall goal might be. It’s okay to set high, ‘out-of-reach’ goals, as long as you set performance and process goals to support the achievement of your outcome goal.

To learn more about athlete performance & development, check out The Sprongo Blog.

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