Softball Goal Setting

Softball Goal Setting
Goal icon. Internet button on abstract background.

Goals are what we strive towards. The most important thing to remember is that goals need to be relevant to your situation only. You need to consider what level of softball you’re playing at, and what you want to achieve. If you play recreational softball or, are on a travel team, mental training is just as important and can be just as beneficial to you regardless of your age or skill level. Your softball goal setting is about you and your experience. Everyone’s game is important and your goals should reflect your level of involvement not the level you think you should be at.

How you achieve those goals is determined by your planning process and the steps that you take in that planning. Goals must be attainable, measurable, and must be periodically evaluated so that you can make sure you’re on the right track. Setting a time frame and check points will allow you to monitor your progress. If you find that you are having difficulty at any of your check points, then you can simply re-evaluate the goal and make adjustments if you need to.

Softball Goal Setting Steps

  • Set your goal
  • Set your time frame
  • Set your check points to monitor your progress
  • If you are struggling re-evaluate goals
  • If you are doing well continue on

If your goals are out of reach, it will not only affect your ability to achieve the goals, but will also affect your confidence. To set goals and not achieve them is frustrating and can prevent you from setting new goals. Working hard toward a goal that is not achievable might seem endless and might even contribute to you leaving the sport. The ability to measure your goals, is important in checking your progress and making sure you are on the right track. This allows you to make changes if you need to. Set checkpoints just before the season begins, and watch through the season and then,, after your season is done reflect on your achievements. Use record keeping and notes to evaluate your goals for the next season.

Training Goals

Training goals, or practice goals are usually directed towards physical and technical or softball specific skills training. To increase your strength by 10% for example is a training goal that will help your technical performance in hitting and throwing. Knowing what kind of physical skills benefit your sport and even what energy system is dominant will be important in setting your physical goals. Utilize your coach or athletic trainer as a resource if you are unsure and want to build your specific physical abilities.

Technical and tactical goals are the skills that enable you to play softball. Most times these goals are established by your coach simply by the practices that they schedule and the drills that are scheduled during the practice. By working with your coach or a softball instructor, you can find out where you need to improve and set goals accordingly.

Competition Goals

Competition is where all of your skills are put to the test. This is where anxiety and distractions are most likely occur on a larger scale because something is on the line. Add to that the difficulties that come with low confidence and being afraid to perform poorly, this will become the focus instead of feeling the excitement of having fun and performing well. Goal setting for competition should refer to the execution of well established softball skills under stressful situations and keeping your focus through distractions.

Softball goal setting activities are a way to improve skills methodically and systematically. By having an idea of where you want to be as you move through your softball career, you can not only actively participate in that development but you can also enjoy your experience.

Softball Goal Setting Activity Exercises

Break your goal setting activities down into physical, technical and mental goals so that you can break them into smaller parts. Be as detailed as you can with the dream goals, pre-season goals and season goals so that you can focus on the most relevant things at the most relevant times.

Physical goals, are goals that you want to achieve that effect the physical part of softball such as speed, strength, flexibility and agility. This type of work is generally done in a gym or on the field and does not necessarily need softball equipment to train. If you are specializing in softball and are at an advance level, you might need to use equipment like an old bat if you are working on the speed of your swing. By swinging a bat and actually letting go of it, you are training the speed of your swing in real time. Make sure you consider the safety factors before trying this activity such as making sure there is no one in the area before swinging.

Types of goals

Technical / Tactical goals are specific to softball. For example, a goal you set might be for you to be able to throw quickly to the exact target 95% of the time after fielding the ball. Or depending on the level that you play at, you might only want to hit the target at least 60% of the time for this season, and your dream goal might be to hit the target 100% of the time.

This is where the attainability is important. If you strive to achieve something you are not yet capable of, you may be tempted to give up through frustration. Make sure the goals are as measurable as possible and they are achievable to guarantee success.

Mental or psychological goals are mostly related to your emotions and how they effect your performance. Did you know that as your anxiety level increases, your skill level can decrease substantially? The ability to compete with minimal psychological interference, will guarantee that you will not only perform better but you will enjoy the experience as well. You will find that many of the mental training skills you learn through this book will be very useful in your daily life as well. How good is that?

Dream Goal(s)

What would be the most perfect outcome that you would like to achieve in softball? If you could achieve anything, what would it be? Write this down in your dream goals section. How do your physical, technical and mental skills need to be improved for you achieve your dream goal. Remember that this goal may take longer than one season depending on your current skill level and the path that you take to get there.

A dream goal is your ultimate goal in softball. Something that maybe you might even think you can’t achieve. That’s the point of this goal. It’s your DREAM goal. If you could do anything you want in softball, what would it be? Allow yourself to dream and it will motivate you as you work through your pre-season and season goals.

It may be that you never fully achieve your dream goal. Yes this is in fact possible. This does not mean that you fail. It means that because you have a dream goal, and something to strive towards, it will motivate you to be successful in the rest of your goals.

Season Goals

Using your dream goals as a guide, what do you want to achieve during the season? Being able to break down your physical, mental and technical skills will make it easier to focus on one thing at a time without being overwhelmed by your dream goals. You will be focusing on the details of the process for the season and not the outcome of the dream goals.  Again make sure you use the goal setting principles of having goals that are attainable, measurable and adjustable.

Pre-Season Goals

What is important in your preparations to have a successful season? This is the time to work on your physical skills, learn new technical/tactical skills and learn mental training skills.  This is the preparation time where you look at your season goals and do what you can to give yourself the best opportunity to have success at those goals. Your pre-season goals are your path to what you will want to accomplish during your season.

Competition / Training Goals

Now is the time to break your goals down even further into specific, attainable and measurable goals. The goals for your training sessions or competitions need to be achieved during that specific session. For example a goal for training might be to say only positive things to yourself after every play or it might be to make 70% of your executions perfect or to make sure you say at least one thing positive to each of your teammates during the session.  Review these goals after the event and check off your successes.

Enjoy the Process

Playing softball is amazing experience, and will bring every emotion from ecstatic excitement to downright anger. A lot of this emotion is within your control. Choose to make your softball experience enjoyable, by taking steps to make sure you are not overextending yourself, or putting too many expectations on your performance. Set your goals to meet as much success as you can.  Congratulate yourself regularly and you will always be looking forward to getting your gear together for the training session or competition. You want to be a participant for life.

By having specific goals set for your competition, it can help you to focus more on the process or just competing instead of worrying about the outcome. Worrying about the score, can create doubt, and fear of failure. Personal goals that are simple and focus on your process will help you to enjoy everything you like about the game.

Your ability to use mental skills during competition will depend on the activities done during the pre-season games and training sessions. Even though you can train by using simulation, the actual real situation can only be experienced during the actual event. By working through the exercises before the season begins, your transition into using these skills during the competitive season will be smooth and effortless.

Goal Setting for Youth

Children need to have simple and easy yet challenging goals for their activities. It’s also important for goals to be focused on general skills that are not complicated. The best way for them to set goals is to set them so that they feel good about themselves. Children need to feel like they are achieving something and doing things right. By giving them many opportunities to see themselves having success, they will begin building their overall sport confidence which will go a long way later.

Make goals easy for youth to understand and evaluate. This will develop their ability to process the whole concept and steps to effective goal setting. Encourage their goal setting abilities to be used outside of sport as well. This will pay off as they are maneuvering through school and other achievements.

Goal Setting for Adolescents

These athletes are often entering the specialization phase of softball. Athletes younger than this should still be participating in multi sport activities thus their goals will be more multi skill oriented. As softball specialization approaches, there will be more involvement from coaches and trainers in setting goals that will be most beneficial to their situation and future in softball. For maximum effectiveness their goals should continue to follow the principles of being simple, attainable and measurable.

Adolescents who are not necessarily specializing in softball can use goal setting to help them to prevent anxiety during games. They may chose to not use all of the goal setting activities and might only use the ones geared towards competition. The goals they set might relate to preparations, basic skills like getting in front of the ball, and dealing with anxiety instead of specific physical and advanced technical or tactical goals such as the surprise bunt.

Goal Setting for Adults

You may be a new participant in softball or someone who has played for a long time but just wants to improve your softball experience. As a new player, there are so many aspects of this game that can cause stress. Comparing yourself to others and self awareness are in my experience the two biggest obstacles when entering this complicated game.

Setting goals that are related to your skill level will give you something to strive towards that is related to your personal skills instead of comparing yourself to another player’s skills. By letting yourself be a beginner and by setting achievable goals, you can enjoy true successes based on your own performance and not on what others can do. This is often a very difficult task when we naturally are so aware of our own abilities or inabilities. Share your goals with a supporter what your goals are so that they can help you to celebrate the small successes and stay focused on your own performance.

Softball goal setting activities are a way to improve skills methodically and systematically. By having an idea of where you want to be as you move through your softball career, you can not only actively participate in that development but you can also enjoy your experience.

Softball Goal Setting Activity Exercises

Break your goal setting activities down into physical, technical and mental goals so that you can break them into smaller parts. Be as detailed as you can with the dream goals, pre-season goals and season goals so that you can focus on the most relevant things at the most relevant times.

Physical goals, are goals that you want to achieve that effect the physical part of softball such as speed, strength, flexibility and agility. This type of work is generally done in a gym or on the field and does not necessarily need softball equipment to train. If you are specializing in softball and are at an advance level, you might need to use equipment like an old bat if you are working on the speed of your swing. By swinging a bat and actually letting go of it, you are training the speed of your swing in real time. Make sure you consider the safety factors before trying this activity such as making sure there is no one in the area before swinging.

Types of goals

Technical / Tactical goals are specific to softball. For example, a goal you set might be for you to be able to throw quickly to the exact target 95% of the time after fielding the ball. Or depending on the level that you play at, you might only want to hit the target at least 60% of the time for this season, and your dream goal might be to hit the target 100% of the time.

This is where the attainability is important. If you strive to achieve something you are not yet capable of, you may be tempted to give up through frustration. Make sure the goals are as measurable as possible and they are achievable to guarantee success.

Mental or psychological goals are mostly related to your emotions and how they effect your performance. Did you know that as your anxiety level increases, your skill level can decrease substantially? The ability to compete with minimal psychological interference, will guarantee that you will not only perform better but you will enjoy the experience as well. You will find that many of the mental training skills you learn through this book will be very useful in your daily life as well. How good is that?

Dream Goal(s)

What would be the most perfect outcome that you would like to achieve in softball? If you could achieve anything, what would it be? Write this down in your dream goals section. How do your physical, technical and mental skills need to be improved for you achieve your dream goal. Remember that this goal may take longer than one season depending on your current skill level and the path that you take to get there.

A dream goal is your ultimate goal in softball. Something that maybe you might even think you can’t achieve. That’s the point of this goal. It’s your DREAM goal. If you could do anything you want in softball, what would it be? Allow yourself to dream and it will motivate you as you work through your pre-season and season goals.

It may be that you never fully achieve your dream goal. Yes this is in fact possible. This does not mean that you fail. It means that because you have a dream goal, and something to strive towards, it will motivate you to be successful in the rest of your goals.

Season Goals

Using your dream goals as a guide, what do you want to achieve during the season? Being able to break down your physical, mental and technical skills will make it easier to focus on one thing at a time without being overwhelmed by your dream goals. You will be focusing on the details of the process for the season and not the outcome of the dream goals.  Again make sure you use the goal setting principles of having goals that are attainable, measurable and adjustable.

Pre-Season Goals

What is important in your preparations to have a successful season? This is the time to work on your physical skills, learn new technical/tactical skills and learn mental training skills.  This is the preparation time where you look at your season goals and do what you can to give yourself the best opportunity to have success at those goals. Your pre-season goals are your path to what you will want to accomplish during your season.

Competition / Training Goals

Now is the time to break your goals down even further into specific, attainable and measurable goals. The goals for your training sessions or competitions need to be achieved during that specific session. For example a goal for training might be to say only positive things to yourself after every play or it might be to make 70% of your executions perfect or to make sure you say at least one thing positive to each of your teammates during the session.  Review these goals after the event and check off your successes.

Enjoy the Process

Playing softball is amazing experience, and will bring every emotion from ecstatic excitement to downright anger. A lot of this emotion is within your control. Choose to make your softball experience enjoyable, by taking steps to make sure you are not overextending yourself, or putting too many expectations on your performance. Set your goals to meet as much success as you can.  Congratulate yourself regularly and you will always be looking forward to getting your gear together for the training session or competition. You want to be a participant for life.