Why Goal Setting is the Key to Your Success as an Athlete

      “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”

-Tony Robbins

What Are Goals?

 the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.


A goal can be broken up into two distinct segments:

  1. A goal is a desired result envisioned by a person.
  2. A goal is accompanied by an effort, plan, and commitment aimed at achievement.


As a basketball coach and a life coach I have seen players fit into one of the 4 below categories:

Player 1: Never set a goal and just floats hoping that things will go there way.

Player 2: Sets a goal, but has no plan to achieve the desired results.

Player 3: Sets goal and has a plan, but does not have the discipline/motivation to act on the plan

Player 4: Sets goals, has a plan, and works tirelessly to achieve the goals that they have defined.


I am hoping you looked at the list above and said to yourself “I want to be like player 4.”  While success can come to all of the above players listed, player 4 is setting the intention for success and taking action to make it happen.  Players 1-3, while they can still have success, are leaving their success up to chance/fate/hope, instead of taking control of their own destiny.


So how can You set a goal and Succeed? 


Step 1: Sit with your eyes closed and think about something that you really want to achieve in your life.  As you develop your goals make sure that they are specific, measurable, and preferably have a deadline associated with them.

  • Set specific and measurable goals that clearly define what it is that you want and what success would look like if you achieved it.   For example:  Instead of saying “I want to be the best shooter in the state.”  Identify what the best shooter in the state would shoot and instead say “I want to shoot 55 percent from the 3point line.”


  • “Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” If you subscribe to the idea that all of your goals should be realistic and attainable, you often will sell yourself short.  I have a firm belief that players, especially high school players, don’t understand their limits and potential.   I am a firm believer at looking at your goals and setting stretch goals (something that seems like it would be very difficult to reach) and then setting a realistic goal (something that is attainable).  I believe that if you do this and strive and work for your stretch goal, we will often land well beyond what we thought was realistic.


  • Creating a deadline will provide you with the necessity to take action.  If we have a deadline to achieve our goal, it is harder to say “I will do it tomorrow.”  We know that there is a specific date that is going to force us and push us to work harder.  It will create an internal necessity to perform the necessary actions required to reach our goal.


Step 2: Once you have identified your goal, write it down somewhere (on a piece of paper, in your phone, etc.).

  • There is a lot of power in writing your goal down in a place that you can see it on a regular basis.  write your goal down on a sticky note and place on the mirror, write it on the cover of your school notebook, put it in your phone as a notification that goes off every morning.


Step 3: Create actionable process goals aimed at taking action and achieving the goal you defined earlier.

  • Process goals are goals that take your larger outcome goal and create a plan to take action. They are really the small steps you need to take in order to achieve your goal. Example:  If your outcome goal is that you want to shoot 55 percent from the 3-point line, your process goals will be that you will shoot 250 shots every day for the next 3 months or that you will work with a shooting coach 3 days a week to help you develop a more consistent long range jump shot.
  • Identify and develop 3-4 process goals that will help you achieve your goal.


Step 4: Share your goals with someone you trust

  • It is important for every athlete to have a support system and have someone that can influence them to achieve their dreams.  Share your goals with a coach, parent, teammate, sibling, etc.  Ask the person to challenge you and push you to take action.


Follow the four steps above to identify your goals and create a plan to reach your dreams.  If you need some help with this process you can:

  • Download the free goal tracker (a tracker that I created where you can identify your goal, write them down, and create a plan).  Download the goal tracker here


  • You can sign up for the Passion4ball life coaching and player mentoring program.  This is an 8 week program where we go through goal setting, defining your purpose, courage, confidence, leadership, communication, and more.  To learn more, click here


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