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One Important Difference Between Good Athletes and Great Athletes


by Allison Goodman

As the new school year is approaching, so is a new sports season. It is time to put our successes and failures of last season behind us and prepare for a fresh start. Most great athletes would agree that one of the most important parts of preparing for a new season is setting goals.

Every great athlete sets goals. Take Michael Jordan for example. In Michael Jordan’s book I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence, he explains how he always set short-term goals. Michael wrote, “As I look back, each one of the steps or successes led to the next one. When I got cut from the varsity team as a sophomore in high school, I learned something. I knew I never wanted to feel that bad again…So I set a goal of becoming a starter on the varsity.”  Needless to say, Michael made the varsity team the following season!

Setting goals gives us direction and motivation. If we do not have anything to work towards then we are left in a confused and unmotivated state. To help set healthy goals, try to make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

Goals should be specific and straightforward. For example, if you want to gain muscle, be specific on the amount of muscle you want to gain. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish it.

Goals should also be measurable, meaning that you should be able to track your progress as time goes on. Create an outline for how and when you will measure your progress. Measurable goals help keep you focused and on track.

Another important aspect of setting goals is setting attainable goals. If goals are not attainable then you probably will not be fully committed. Goals should stretch you and make you work, but if deep down you know you cannot attain them then you will most likely give up.

Realistic goals are not necessarily easy goals but do-able goals. For example, a baseball player probably should not set a goal of raising their batting average from 0.19 to 0.35 in one season.  Although it is possible, it is improbable that a player will improve that much in one season. Therefore, a more realistic goal would be raising a batting average from 0.19 to 0.25.

The final key aspect to setting healthy goals is to set timely goals. Whether it is a week, a month, or a year, assign a due date to your goal otherwise your commitment will be too vague. Timely goals also help set direction and motivation.

Now that you have direction on how to set healthy goals for your upcoming season take some time to write your goals down. Putting your goals on paper makes them more real. Do not be afraid to post them somewhere in your room where you can be reminded of them. If you are feeling even more daring, post them somewhere where others can see and help keep you accountable! Good luck this season!

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