As parents, we know the importance of setting goals for ourselves, but what about for our young athletes?
Today we have a guest post on goal setting for kids written by Michael Hare, the owner of League Pitching Machines, who is passionate about skill development in players of all ages.
Every parent and coach wants the best for the young athlete in his or her life, and if you ask the most involved and successful parents and coaches for the secrets of their successes, they are sure to have something in common high on their lists: goal setting.
If you want excellence, teaching young players requires that goals be set for them, and –perhaps more importantly—that they learn to set and achieve goals for themselves.
Why is goal setting so important in young athletes? Here are a few reasons:
1. Setting a goal outlines the desired results.
The goals you set for your student athlete or those that he or she sets alone should be specific, and should detail the results intended.
Don’t let your young athlete fall into the trap of setting a non-specific goal like, “I’ll be a better pitcher next season.” Perhaps a better goal is, “I will walk 10% fewer batters next season,” or “I will use my curve ball successfully in 10% more games.” Creating specific objectives is a life skill that young athletes will use for years to come – in sports as well as other life situations.
2. Setting a goal creates momentum.
Once you’ve set and written down a specific, achievable goal, your young athlete will be able to gauge his or her progress and, when motivated, will begin to try to achieve that goal. Even better, as a coach or mentor, you can suggest specific steps to help along the way and then step back and watch your student athlete take action to improve.
3. Setting a goal offers up a vision of accomplishment.
One of the most important things having a goal does is to give any athlete a picture of what the desired outcome is. When your student athlete can envision reaching and even surpassing his or her goal, the desire to achieve becomes stronger and some would even argue that it is easier for that goal to be reached.
4. Setting a goal encourages accountability.
What happens when a young athlete falls short or doesn’t reach his or her intended goal? There should be some consequences for not meeting goals and often the simple noting that a young athlete hasn’t progressed is enough. What happens when he or she meets the goal and surpasses it with flying colors? Praise or reward should ensue!
Goals make young people accountable – no matter what the outcome – and goal setting and follow-through experiences provide the foundation for further progress and accomplishments. It also allows young athletes to realize that they can influence results in other life situations, a fact that is vitally important as they mature.
Great coaches will reiterate that experiencing small successes leads to the desire for larger successes and has the effect of pushing athletes to be their best and continually improve.
Want more from your athletes? Start setting goals now and enjoy the results with them ever after.
For further resources for player development, check out Michael’s online store for training equipment such as pitching machines.