Having goals can increase effort because the players have a means of measuring their performance and contribution against.
SMART goals have long lasting motivation benefits.
When you review performance against set goals and the player has shown an improvement, raise the bar a little higher. Each time the player will be motivated to achieve a new level of performance providing the incremental increase is still within grasp.
If you’ve not been overly exposed to SMART goal setting then let’s run through what we mean by SMART goals and how we can use them with our players.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Action based, Realistic & Time bound.
The more specific a goal is the easier it is to identify when and whether its been achieved. The goal should be a detailed description of what the required outcome is that both player and coach want to see happen.
Unless a goal is measurable, how can you establish whether there has been an improvement or not?
Goals should be measurable in terms of quality, quantity, shots, tackles, runs and saves. When players can see they have made progress towards achieving the goal the motivational benefits really kick in.
A baseline starting point should be established and the goal set from the baseline measurement. From this baseline, and having the target, players can measure how far they have come.
A player must know exactly what they’ve got to do. That means you will both have to agree a set of actions that will help the player achieve their goal.
For example, an action based element could read like this… “I will increase the accuracy of my crossing from corner kicks putting the ball into the box on no less than 8 out of 10 occasions.”
Goal have got to be within the reach of the soccer players.
That’s not to say that you are going to set “soft targets”. Targets that are so within reach that the players aren’t motivated to stretch themselves because its too easy.
However, setting realistic goals is a tough balance, make them too easy and the players won’t try, make them too hard and the players will give up quickly because they don’t believe they can do what it takes.
It is very important to set definitive time limits for each of the players goals. Remember too, that you should build in regular reviews with the players to assess their progress and revise the goals that they have.
Have a go….
Get yourself some paper and a pen and write down a high level goal that you want your team to achieve following the SMART goal setting principles.
Remember, keep them SMART!