Goal setting for softball begins when the players are first on the field. At least is should begin then. They might not be old enough to consciously plan out a strategy that will take them through their entire career, but short term goals will work. A weekly goal might be about the entire season or it might only be about what is coming up in the schedule. The time of the season will also have an impact on the goals set and how far ahead they are planned. As you might be guessing, there are many factors that will contribute to goal setting and how these goals are measured. This should be mentioned before talking about setting goals.
As in any goal setting activity. Goals need to have useful characteristics to be successful. By using guide, players will be able to pin point what and how the goals will be achieved. It is important also to remember that outcome goals are best achieved though a defined process.
- Time Sensitive
Some Factors Effecting Goals:
Level of Play:
A recreation player will want to have success on the field and to feel like she is improving, just as with competitive athletes. She may be focusing more on fundamental skills, rather than intense and complicated skills and tactics. With skill and experience level appropriate goals, she will feel good about her abilities and keep working hard. These goals might include more technical and tactical skills being worked on while at practices and games. She might work with the coach outside of time with the team to focus on specific skills.
A competitive player might be working through more self management of her skills and improving her game under pressure. The expectations tend to be higher at this level, which might make overall performance more important. She might keep a journal to keep track of her progress. This will help her to take control of improvement and give her concrete information to work with the coach to prioritize her steps to success.
The age of a player will often contribute to what a player capable of achieving. Especially if she is new to the game. This is mostly related to her physical abilities, and her cognitive / mental development. I recommend for example, that a 10 year old player keep her goals to basic technical and tactical aspects of the game. Most youth at this age are just learning the game and need solid fundamental skills to advance through the game with success regardless of level of play.
As players age and they are able to understand complex skills, game strategy and advanced tactics, with a solid command of basic fundamentals, she will be able to put her focus on the play rather than the skills needed to execute the play.
Mental skills need to correlate with the players age and experience level. If a player learns about relaxation or cue words at an early age, she can use it to attaining goals as they grow through the game. Small demands and easy to use tools will help players to gain confidence to be able to incorporate them as they move through the levels of the game. Regardless of the competition level of play, mental skills are important to the game.
This article is about weekly goals. They are an important part of the whole goal setting process which can actually start with the season goals. By breaking season goals down to monthly goals and then down to weekly goals, something such as fielding can have an even closer focus. Fielding is a great example because if the goal is broken down monthly, and she is not improving week to week, there is something that needs to be changed. Factors such as time spend on training, equipment and mental focus, are things that can be measured and modified if necessary.
A weekly goal might also be related to other activities that the player might be involved in. Often sports overlap and players need to be prepared for something such as a soccer game and a softball game. Going from a fast and busy sport like soccer to softball is a psychological adjustment. If the player is an experienced player who plays at a high level, with high expectations, preparation for this transition can be useful.
This is a plan that is not only important to the success on the field for the season and for the individual sense of accomplishment that a player feels. This is basically a blueprint for the season that can guide the shorter term goals through the season.
Players can use monthly goals to break down what they want to accomplish for the season. A goal such as improve fielding average to at least 90% is a good goal. One that would ideally be done by the end of the season for the final tournaments. this can be broken down into months of the season. It is important though to make the goals attainable to improve the chances of success. 90% might not be a good number for the season depending on the experience of the player. With a high level player it might be 100%. Each month will have a goal, that way the player can see how she is improving and if she is on the right track.
This goal is an important one. Not that the others are not. It will have an impact though on the outcome of the weekly, monthly and yearly goal. It is easy to focus on simply the game or practice at hand. To make it a part of the season development, can create a better sense of control of development through the season. If I refer to the 90% fielding goal, a daily goal might be to successfully field 90% of 50 ground balls and 50 fly balls.
Weekly goals are a part of the success circle. If they are used as part of the season plan, there is a greater success of achieving a higher level of success than without them. It is important to include recovery in the schedule. This might be a day off or just doing something fun with friends.
Its important for coaches as well to incorporate goal setting into their season planning. Planning for the team’s success is much easier when there is a plan and a path to that plan.