Goal Setting in Sports

Goal setting is an important part of almost every aspect of life. One particular facet of life that the effects of goal setting are interesting is in sports. Goal setting in sports is used to measure quality of performance, just like in any other aspect of life in which it is used. If you talk to an athlete of any kind, from a professional basketball player to a nine year old just starting out on his Little League baseball team, he will tell you that goal setting is an integral part of his hobby or profession. The Little Leaguer’s particular goals might be to simply get a single hit every game to impress his friends, while the professional’s goal may be to hit for a batting average of three hundred in order to attain a higher rate of pay. The fact remains that each player sets a particular goal and in most cases, that goal is integral to his success or failure in his particular endeavor. We can see that goal setting plays quite a different role as the level of athletics changes, but we can see that it is also present regardless of the level of play at which an athlete is competing. You can not only compare the role goal setting at different levels of competition you can also compare them across different sports.

One comparison that is easy to look at is the role of goal setting in long distance running and in soccer. Now in this case the athlete who participates in long distance running will have a much easier time setting his goals. This is simply because the long distance runner’s individual performance is measured in a very tangible way. He can track his progress in every workout, in every race with as much accuracy as his stopwatch can measure. Thus every day the runner goes out to run he can set a tangible goal and after he is done training or racing he can tell whether he achieved that goal or not.

This is not the case however with a soccer player. In the course of a soccer game, a particular player may get one or two chances to score a goal. Whether or not he capitalizes on the opportunity is really not a good indicator of how he performed that day. In the case of the soccer player, the goals he sets have to be much less tangible. He has to take into account how the game was played and try to measure his contribution to his team’s performance. He could look at how he contributed to the possession of the ball being in his team’s favor or the opponents’ favor, he could look at how many times he turned the ball over and he could also look at the individual quality of passes that he completed. Even when breaking down the soccer game, the soccer player still has a hard time assessing his performance and his level of achievement with regard to his particular goal since so much is dependent on the other twenty-one people on the field. Even though all this is true, the soccer player still needs to measure his performance and the only way he can do this is by goal setting. Even though these goals may be subjective, goal setting is still an integral part of his hobby or profession.

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