Archive for “goal setting” Tag

Goal Setting for Young Athletes

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by Dave Gleason

 

Setting short, medium and long term goals is the foundation for any action plan.  Creating and attaining any goal is a process.

 

In the context of Goal Setting for young athletes, often a trainer or coach will direct the question of desired goal(s) by giving away the answers.  A typical pre-exercise questionnaire will ask the young athlete (and/or parent) to choose from a list of goals ranging from speed, agility, strength and flexibility to injury resistance and more confidence.

 

This is a terrific start but we need to reach beyond this for our young athletes.

 

Developing a specific culture in your facility or programs is instrumental in differentiating what you do from your competition.  Everything you do should point back toward the same ethos that your culture is built upon.  Goal setting is no exception.

 

For a long term athletic development program this is critical.  Can we honestly expect kids to stay in our programs for 2,3,5 or 10 years?

 

Setting up reward systems for young athletes will help them set and attain goals.  All too often children are pressured to succeed merely for the sake of success.

 

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Goal Setting for Young Athletes

Young Athletes Goals and Dreams

Dreams and ambition are great.

 

But how many times have you established a goal for yourself and not completed it?

 

I’ll bet that number totals into the dozens.

 

You start the process, get ultra-excited, amped-up beyond belief…

 

… And then…

 

Nothing.

 

You kind of get started, but not really.

 

You sort of create a plan, but never really follow it.

 

You get confused, overwhelmed, discouraged and then… JUST STOP.

 

Been there myself.

 

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Setting Goals and Expectations for Young Athletes

 

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Young Athletes Goals

 

The Pygmalion Effect can either elevate a workers productivity or entirely undermine it. For instance, workers who receive continuous verbal praise for their efforts, while being supported by non-verbal means, will aspire and ascend to even more productivity. In contrast, if a worker receives less praise or even communication from management than their peers or co-workers, although nothing is being conveyed verbally, the worker feels as though they are under-appreciated and will see a lapse or decrease in productivity.

 

Livingston substantiated this point –

 

“If he (the manager) is unskilled, he leaves scars on the careers of the young men and women, cuts deeply into their self-esteem and distorts their image of themselves as human beings. But if he is skillful and has high expectations of his subordinates, their self-confidence will grow, their capabilities will develop and their productivity will be high. More often than he realizes, the manager is Pygmalion”

 

Now, apply these realities to the world of youth sports and coaching young athletes.

 

If inappropriate managerial skills, in the form of limited positive affirmations or feedback, can effect an adult to the degree that they will have "scars… cuts deeply into their self-esteem and distorts their image of themselves as human beings", what do you think happens to children under the pressure of inappropriate coaching?

 

In understanding the relevancy and practicality of the Pygmalion Effect, answer these questions for yourself:

 

Why doesn’t a "one size fits all" coaching approach work?

 

Do coaches treat all of their young athletes the same, or do they every so subtly play favorites?

 

What would happen to the ability and self-esteem of young athletes if their coaches and parents demonstrated great pride in their efforts and positively voiced a level of expectation, based entirely on the notion that the coach "knows" the young athlete could achieve this?

 

Should we make our young athletes more concerned about the results of a game or training session, or spend our energy with heaping positive praise and expectation on them because we know that they are capable of anything?

 

Here is a list of Pygmalion-based coaching strategies for you to use with your young athletes:

 

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Youth Sports Conditioning Goal Confusion – Part 2

 

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Youth Sports Conditioning Principles

Soccer is no different than any other sport at the youth level – and I am not
inferring that anyone suggested otherwise – but every youth coach of every
sport, seems to think that the technical nuances of their sport are some how
more intricate or specialized than the skills of other sports… and that is not
the case.

 

And you can replace ‘Soccer’ with ‘Baseball’, ‘Basketball’ or any other sport
in the above paragraph.

 

The point of the Goal Confusion article can be summed up in one sentence –

 

Coaches and Trainers must learn how and when to apply certain teaching
techniques and when to let kids ‘learn’ things for themselves – and that is
especially true when we design drills in which we tell our players that the
success of a drill is based on the outcome rather than the form.

 

If you have been a subscriber for any length of time, you know exactly how
I feel about teaching skill – it is imperative and an ability that frankly, many
Coaches and Trainers lack (when in consideration of pedagogical science
and individual player temperament).

 

Having said that, by not letting young kids simply ‘have at it’ on their own
once in a while or at certain phases of development, we risk limiting free
nervous system adaptability at large – and this has been a prevalent problem
in North American sports for years.

 

We over-teach our youngsters and do not allow them free exploration
(which is at the crux of sport development) but then marvel at how much
more ‘naturally skilled’ international athletes often tend to be.

 

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Youth Sports Training: Do You Confuse Your Young Athletes?

Youth sports training with kids

You could open an interesting debate with respect to teaching sporting skills to kids.

 

I did last week during a presentation I gave to area basketball coaches.

 

Some trainers and coaches have decided that the skills required to achieve a certain task should be taught from the beginning.

 

Others believe in the concept of motor patterning – allowing the young athlete to find his or her own way of achieving a task.

 

The debate gets even trickier when you factor in the varying nuances and therefore objectives of different sports.

 

For example, in basketball, if the ball goes in the hoop, it doesn’t really matter how it got there.

 

But in diving, you know going in that once you jump off the platform, gravity will pull you into the water – the style in which you get there is all that really matters.

 

Where do you sit on this debate?

 

I asked the coaches in my audience the same question.

 

Should you teach or over-teach a certain style of execution to young athletes from day one, or should you allow the young athletes to learn the relative motor patterning via exploration and natural refinement?

 

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