How to Set Goals in Basketball

The ability to set attainable goals is a prerequisite for success in most areas of life, but this is especially true when it comes to athletics. Numerous studies have shown that time and time again, athletes who establish clear, concise, and well-formulated sports goals out-perform those without goals. Proper goal setting, then, can make a winner out of you. But this isn’t a skill one is born with; effective goals are the product of a systematic process.

Outlined below are a few guidelines to keep in mind when brainstorming goals for the upcoming season. Follow the advice below and you’ll have a list of clear and concise goals in no time. But be forewarned, your game may improve drastically.

Set Your Own Goals

The value and importance you place on a given goal will affect your commitment to that goal. That’s why most people are more motivated to achieve the goals they set for themselves as opposed to goals set for them by others. Don’t make the mistake of adopting another person’s goals just for the sake of having goals. Take time to think about your own skill set and your strengths and weaknesses. With that information in hand, you can begin to formulate goals that will be important and fulfilling to you.

Make Goals Challenging but Attainable

Improvement is the desired effect of goal setting. So it makes sense that when establishing a specific goal, that goal should challenging. Most ballers don’t have a problem in this area; an innate competitive nature can cause many athletes to err on the side of difficult.

High expectations are necessary because it forces one to continually push to improve. However, it’s important to remember that improvement must be made in steps. In other words, every goal you set should be simultaneously difficult and attainable within a given time period. It’s great to aspire to play in the NBA one day (high on the scale of difficulty), but on your way to the pro’s, you must set smaller attainable goals to help you arrive at your final destination.

Avoid the Vague

When setting basketball goals, you want to keep the big picture in mind — I want to become a better basketball player — but the focus should be on achieving tangible results. Make your goals specific and concrete, rather than vague and general.

Stating your goals in observable terms, that is, in terms you can see and measure will help you formulate effective goals. This will also make your goal visible and easy to track. You want your goals to create an environment in which you are constantly competing against yourself.

Think Short Term

It’s okay to have wide-reaching long term goals, but generally, short-term goals with an identifiable time table are more effective. The reason is simple: The longer it takes to achieve, the less attractive the goal. Also, breaking larger goals into smaller ones makes it easier to track progress and stay motivated, as fulfilling goals is encouraging.

Acquire the Necessary Resources

Set yourself up for success by making sure that you have access to any necessary resources you may need to achieve your goal. For example, if your goal is to be able to hang clean 190 lbs in four weeks, then access to Olympic-style weight lifting equipment is a must. Don’t forget to think beyond equipment as well. Consider if you’ll need coaching, the help of teammates, or even a journal to track your progress. Simple tools can go a long way to helping you achieve your goals.

Write Down Your Goals

Once you have brainstormed a few basketball goals and fine-tuned them according the specifications outlined above, it’s time to put your aspirations into writing. Choose a few of the goals you would most like to achieve and write them down. Where you write them is up to you; some athletes keep a journal while others post their goals on a wall or in their room. Writing down your goals makes them more concrete.

Spread the Word

The road to success and self-improvement is filled with plenty of bumps. Some days you might feel unmotivated or even discouraged. In times like these, encouragement from friends and family can be just the push you need to persevere. So once you have your goals set, tell a few select people you trust about your aspirations. And feel free to lean on them for encouragement when you need it.

Mission Accomplished

Goals are the medium through which monumental tasks are achieved. And the world of sports is filled with examples of this. So grab a pen and a pad of paper and start brainstorming right away! Goal setting is the first step to making your hoop dreams come true.

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