Goal Setting in Sport

goal setting latest news Dec 01, 2015

Goal setting may sound simple. You set a few goals and you try your hardest to reach them, right? However, it is a little more complicated than that, and if you don’t get it right, it can be the difference between success and failure as an athlete. Setting the right goals makes athletes more committed and motivated to do their best and should always be integrated into the training process. Along with getting motivation to set goals through your coach or sports motivational speaker there is a lot to learn about the goal setting process. Understanding is key to making it work for you. Are you ready to find out more about goal setting in sport? Here are some things you need to know before you get started.


It can be difficult knowing how to get started when it comes to setting goals. The first thing is knowing which type of goals are the best ones to set for you or your team. The best types of goals in sport are the ones that are SMART. Invented by consultant George T Doran, the acronym SMART can be applied easily to sport-related goals. Here’s how:

1. Specific — A broad goal like ‘I’m going to build on my strength’, can lead to failure. Keep your goals specific and to the point so that you know exactly how you are going to achieve them. For example, ‘I’m going to build on my upper body strength’. By doing this you are creating a goal that you are more likely to achieve.

2. Measurable — Make sure you can measure your goal. It could be something like beating times, measuring your body or counting how many times you can repeat a certain skill. Whatever it is, make sure you know exactly how you are going to measure and track attaining your goal. It will help you stay on target and keep you motivated when you see improvements as you head towards achieving exactly what you set out to achieve.

3. Attainable — Pick goals that are attainable and that you really want to reach. The more you want to reach something, the more you will be motivated to get to it. Keeping goals attainable will allow you to shift your attitude, and then your ability, to hit that goal.

4. Realistic — It can be great to keep the bigger picture goal in mind, but make sure you keep your goals fairly small and realistic. There’s not much point in setting a goal that is so out of reach that you become unmotivated and overwhelmed. Set goals in small increments, so that once you reach them you can feel successful and be ready to move onto the next one. You’ll reach that ‘bigger picture’ goal before you know it!

5. Time-related — Give yourself or your team a time frame to reach the goal. It makes you work harder and at the right pace to ensure you get there. Avoiding a time frame will only make things drag and you’ll find yourself wishing you could move on.


Goal setting is as important as all the physical and mental skills needed when playing any sport. You can be the fittest and strongest individual or team, but without goal setting, you may find that quickly fades. Learning to set goals and meet them is important because it gives you no ceiling. It allows you to aim high and then aim higher again, constantly improving and reinventing yourself, or your team, for optimal performance. Goal setting should never be taken lightly!


It is easy for athletes to set goals that can go wrong. Goals around winning a game or competition, or those that are just focussed on the end result, rather than the process itself can often lead to failure. If your team has someone who is ill or having an off night, or perhaps you are not well yourself, these factors can affect these kinds of goals greatly. This is why it’s important to stick to goals that suit the SMART acronym. This will ensure that you always set goals that can be reached.


The best way for an athlete to ensure they reach their goals is to stay motivated! Bouncing ideas off a coach and sharing your achievements when you reach them will give you a sense of pride and make you want to keep going. Hearing sports motivational speakers and getting that boost of confidence as a team can be a great way to aim high. Keep it realistic and keep yourself motivated, always!


Start setting your goals today! Make sure you are relaxed and have plenty of time to get it down on paper. If you are with a team, start brainstorming, allowing everyone’s ideas to be included. After that, filter them down, ensuring they are all goals that match the SMART acronym. Keep revisiting and reinventing your goals every so often to ensure you stay on track.

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