Last night I had a great chat with Joe Frontier of the Madison Throws Club in Wisconsin. We spent a lot of time discussing the goal-setting process and how I have incorporated “my process” with the kids I’ve coached over the years. Since I started my coaching career, I have had a paradigm shift with regards to best practices in goal-setting that may lead to a higher succession rate of accomplishing one’s goals or seasonal outcomes.
When I began my coaching career, I was 100% focused on outcome goals. I assumed that the throwers I was coaching all wanted to throw far and win conference championships. I quickly learned that it wasn’t necessarily the case. For a vast majority of the collegiate throwers I’ve worked with, simply being on the team and throwing far enough to compete at a conference championship was enough for them.
With that said, however, I made sure to communicate that under no circumstances would their differences in goals hold the throwers back that had greater aspirations for themselves (winning a conference championship, competing at nationals, earning All-American, or winning a national championship).
What I’ve learned over the years is that it’s ok for an athlete to not want to be a conference champion. Simply being on the team was sufficient for them. I beg to think that at the Division I or II level there wouldn’t be that many athletes on the team with that type of mindset.
What follows is the goal-setting framework I implement with my throwers.
I give these four questions to my athletes before we have a more formal one-on-one meeting. Usually a week or two later, after a few practices, we sit down and discuss their thoughts. The time in-between sharing the questions and discussing their responses gives both the athlete and myself an opportunity to determine if the desired outcomes are going to be realistically achieved during the season. It also gives me a chance to think about daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal accountability checkpoints that can be implemented throughout the course of the season.
Dr. Charles Infurna
Charles Infurna, Ed.D., is the owner and lead coach of Forza Athletics Track Club. Dr. Infurna has coached National Record Holders, National Champions, All-Americans, and Conference Champions at the Post-Collegiate, Collegiate, and High School level.