At the beginning of each year footballers feel fresh and ready to to take on the year ahead. Whatever happened the previous year doesn’t matter anymore, it’s the change to wipe the slate clean and set new goals for the season ahead.
The problem with goal setting is that most footballers have a few goals set but don’t implement the right process for these goals to be achieved. For example you might want to represent your state for the national championships in your age group. That’s a great goal to have however, if that’s all you have with associated or linked to your goal, it’s very hard to stay on track or work towards this goal. You need some specific and measurable goals for the short to mid term. Therefore you can achieve little milestones along the way towards the main goal.
If it’s that state team you are looking to represent and that is your main goal for the year then start with a few short term goals to work towards.
- Identify your strengths and what will get you in selected on the team. This could be your marking. Ensure you practice your marking at least three times a week and be specific about this. It maybe 50 extra marks per week against someone or individually. As footballers, sometimes we focus too much on what are poor at instead of what we are good at.
- You must identify your weakness and work hard to improve this. This maybe your kicking. Work hard on this,seek out some help and set yourself to a number of extra kicks each week to achieve. With areas of improvement, realise you may never be a 10/10 at this skill but you need to get to a component enough level to be considered a good player. Ensure you have the right coach to help you iron out any technical issues.
- Write these short term goals down and make sure you are constantly reassessing them. Tick them off as you go and place the written goals in a place where you will likely be able to access or view them. Ensure these goals are specific and you can measure them. The marking and kicking goals are good examples of these.
Mid term goals could be monthly or quarterly goals. Again ensure they are specific, measurable and linked to your short term goals. Here are some examples of mid term goals, linked to the short term goals:
- Marking - 4 x Contested marks a game. Notice here marking is a strength and short term goal in the example above. Now we need to ensure this goal is being produced in games and they are specific and measurable come game day.
- Kicking - Improved kicking efficiency in each game. You may want to increase this by 10 -20% from last year. Remember this was the area for improvement. You don’t have to turn this into your main strength but as long as you are improving, you are on the right track.
- Hopefully you can achieve these mid term goals and set a milestone along the way. If the long term or main goal for the year was to make the State team then, you may have a goal of getting selected in your regional team or the team below state level.
- Again, keep reviewing the goals. The mid term goals you may like to review monthly.
Long Term goals or your main goal for the year sits above the others. But you can’t get there without achieving the other goals along the way. They are the foundations for your main goal. Keeping the example of the state team selection, you’ll find if you are on track with the other goals you have given yourself every opportunity to achieve it. In football, anything can happen and sometimes things don’t go your way. But if you have set goals and you’ve done everything possible to achieve it, you’ve given it your best shot. It also doesn’t mean that any of your dreams or other long term goals are out of the question. You just have to reassess and implement new ones to get you back on track. In contrast if you do achieve your goals you set out, well done. But again, you then have to set new ones to continue on your path to where you want to get to. Do you think Patrick Dangerfield wins a Brownlow and stops setting goals? No he wouldn’t, he would have new ones to set each season.
Just remember AFL football is tough. Things can go your way and they can also go against you. But if you set goals that are specific, measurable and structured properly around your main goals then you always have a guide with you no matter what the situation is.
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