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Goal Setting: Techniques For Success

10/04/2016, 9:30pm EDT
By Jeff Palmeri

Goal setting is crucial to athletic success. However, there are good and bad goal setting techniques that can either help or hinder an athlete’s improvement. In order to get the most out of goal setting, athletes should be using a combination of outcome goals, process goals, and performance goals.


Outcome goals show the big picture. This is the desired end result.


“I want to be a state champion.”

While an outcome goal is the ultimate desire, it is not specific enough to determine how the goal will be achieved. To do this, process goals and performance goals also need to be utilized.


Process goals determine how an athlete is going to improve and achieve their outcome and performance goals. Athletes have the most direct control of their process goals.


“I’m going to lift in the weight room three times a week.”

“I’m not going to slack off during our conditioning workouts.”

“I’m not going to eat any unhealthy food while I’m cutting weight.”

These goals are so specific that they should never be failed; the athlete has complete control of these goals. If the athlete is dedicated, they will lift three times a week, they won’t slack off during conditioning workouts, and they won’t eat unhealthy foods while cutting weight. The successful completion of these goals will result in a stronger, better conditioned, healthier athlete, that will be much more likely to obtain their outcome goals.


Performance goals specify a standard to be achieved during competitions or practice. When performance goals are met, they help achieve the desired outcome goal.


“During this match I want to score three takedowns.”

“In the tournament tomorrow I don’t want anyone to ride me.”

“In the live session of practice today I want to get at least one turn on everyone I wrestle.”


If the athlete is focused on achieving their performance goals, they will be completing the building blocks that make up the outcome goal. The athlete that is getting takedowns, turns, and escaping in their matches is also likely winning those matches.


While it’s important to have large outcome goals, they are often too broad to be of much use on their own. It is equally important to also be setting process and performance goals, which define the specific path to success. 


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