4 Common Mistakes made when Goal Setting

Goal Setting Helps Everyone Achieve More (Source: Inha Leex Hale)
Too Many Goals can Create Confusion (Source: Inha Leex Hale)

Goal Setting continues to be the one of the most talked about topics in both sports and business in general. While many people try to implement goal setting into their regular options when working with teams or individuals, there is still a very big difference between understanding around the topic that enables success, and less well thought out goals that lead to bad outcomes.


The most significant mistake around goal setting is focusing on aspects of a game or a team’s performance that one individual cannot control. When goal setting for an individual, the focus of each point must be the individual’s performance. There is no use focusing on those areas of the game that a player cannot control. An example of a poor goal such as scoring a certain amount of points in a game. A better goal in this situation is to focus on traits of the player’s performance that will lead to the attainment of targets like points, etc.


The next common mistake made in goal setting is providing aims for players that focus on the negative habit rather than what is desired to replace the poor behaviour. This is not only limited to goals but also many coaches in general when providing feedback and instruction to players’ waste time focusing on the mistake and the failing to highlight the desire behaviour needed. For example, a goal might be given to stop taking contested shots. Instead of focusing on the negative behaviour and more meaningful goal is to highlight the performance of the skills needed to reduce this situation from occurring. In regards to reducing the amount of contested shots taken, this behaviour may be improved by asking the player to raise their head sooner so they have better vision prior to shooting.


Another common mistake made when undertaking the task of goal setting is not allowing the individual who is having the gaols set take part in the process. For goals to be truly accepted and committed to the player must be empowered to make decisions, be responsible for and accountable to the goals that are set. By having the player involved in the goal setting process, they will be more likely to see this as a target they own. This is important as when things seem to be going the wrong way, if the player sees the goal as being something they have committed to, they will be more likely to endure the hardships faced and work towards to gaols set.


Finally, an over anxious effort focusing on goal setting can often result in too many goals being given to players in an attempt to expedite development and performance. If too many goals are given to an individual this will have the opposite effect, this will result in the concentration and effort of the player being spread too thinly across the wide number of gaols. A good number of goals to give to any individual is at a maximum of three. Anymore and the goals will tend to lose their importance.


Goal setting is a very valuable tool in helping set a target on the horizon for a player so they have something to aim for. Take some time and spend it with your players to get the most out of goal setting. The rewards will far out way the initial investment of time and effort.

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Coach Riches has been working within the sport, business and education industries for many years. During this time he has built an extensive number of formal and informal qualifications. A firm believer in training and development designed to help people reach their full potential, relevant o their needs and functional to their industry environment.

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