Goal setting is a cool way to gain some focus for the upcoming season. It’s good to have direction going into the season. A goal can direct efforts and motivate throughout the season. As a team, come together and come up with a SMART goal for the season. That SMART stands for Specific, Measureable, Adjustable, Realistic, and Time Specific. The SMARTer the goal, the more effective it will be. Individuals should also have SMART goals that promote personal growth as well as contributing to the team (if s/he is on a team). Another tidbit about goals that is good to know is that process goals are better to set than outcome goals. You have more control over your process to influence the outcome rather than the outcome itself. Think about it. You have more control over your efforts in practice than you do over your opponent’s efforts in their practice. So! With that being said, focus on making and pursing goals that make you hard to beat.
Time management is clutch, yall! Student-athletes, I’m looking at you here. Laziness is not to be accepted this season and school year. Make yourself a schedule that addresses all of your responsibilities. While you are in school, focus solely on school. When you are at practice, be about practice. You need to make the most of your time because your schedule can be quite hectic and every minute counts. I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but attack school with the same dedication and excitement you attack sports. Student-athletes, you want to be MARKETABLE and not just ELIGIBLE to recruiters, college admissions, and future employers. Your grades will get you there. Your athletics will help.
Check your motivation. Why do you go to practice? Why do you practice extra? Why are you slacking off in school? Take some time to find out why you do what you do. Once you’ve identified your motivation, use it! When you feel like your efforts may be decreasing, lean on your motivation to get you going again. These can be internal or external motivations. It depends on the person and the situation for sure. In a team setting, find a team motivation that can carry the team through the season. You need to understand why you do (or do not) do things and use this to your advantage.
Leadership can be either a gift or a curse depending on how it’s used in a team setting. Leadership depends on the needs of the team. Make sure your appointed or natural leaders have a good understanding on what kind of leadership the team needs rather than solely on what type of leader they want to be. Leadership uses actions and words. To my leaders out there, you’ll probably end up doing what you SHOULD do rather than what you WANT to do, but it’s all for the good of the team. The faster you accept that, the smoother the leadership role can be for you.
Now are goals, time management, motivation, and leadership the only 4 mental skills needed in the preseason? Well, no, but I’m writing a post, not a book. These are four mental skills that can help you mentally prepare for the season and school year ahead. Think about it and use these if you’d like to be better this season. As usual, if you have any questions about any of this, just let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.