The importance of goal setting in sport

Goal setting is the process of setting and working towards goals. However, why is goal setting important? What’s so special about writing goals down and working towards these?

Setting goals allows you to maintain focus and attention. This is crucial for high-level athletes, allowing you to draw your energy on one thing at a time, getting better at that one thing, and improving your overall performance.

Likewise, this also gives you a sense of direction. If you ever find yourself feeling lost, perhaps not knowing how to improve or what to work on, setting goals allows you to get back on track, working towards specific tasks and objectives that will improve your sports performance.

Even if you’re at the top of your game or sport, not setting goals may result in your attention being spread much broader. This may see a performance decline, while other competitors rise up and take your position.

Related: What is mental training in sport?

Long-term and short-term goals

There are two main types of goals, these are long-term goals and short-term goals. Long term goals are where you see yourself, or how you want to be at a specific skill in 6 months, 1 year, or even 5 years. On the other hand, short-term goals may be what you want to focus on this week, next week, or this month.

Your short term goals should be tailored to your long-term goals. Each short-term goal you create should help you work towards your long-term goals, allowing you to see progress along the way.

Seeing this progress whilst working toward your long-term goals is essential. This increases the likelihood of you sticking to these goals, increasing your motivation, and sports performance.

Be as specific as possible

Finally, it’s important to make your goals as specific as possible. The more specific you are, the easier it is to focus on the goal. For example, a non-specific goal may be: I want to run 5k, whereas a specific goal would be: I’d like to run a 5k in under 20-minutes by the end of this month.

The more specific you are, once again the easier it is to work towards these goals. Giving yourself a timeframe is helpful too, this allows you to hold yourself accountable throughout the process – working towards another goal within your goal.

If you’d like to learn more about goal setting through the Acumen Sports program, or would like to find out more information about this, click here.