If you are a parent to a young athlete or work with young athletes, it’s important to understand how to help them set goals. Teaching a child the basics of the skills needed to perform in a sport is the first step, but as the child progresses, teaching children how to reinforce and improve their athletic skills is paramount to their success.
Teaching children how to set goals in athletics can bleed into other areas of life, such as academics, where setting goals is just as important. Overall, goal setting is an important life skill that can be learned early in life in an athletic setting.
If you are looking for new ways to engage young athletes and get them excited about their goals, keep reading.
Methods to Help Young Athletes Set Goals
There are many methodologies when it comes to setting goals with young athletes for their progression.
Some of these are:
- Set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic, and Time-Based. Every goal you set should be set in the SMART framework. This allows for clear expectations regarding the goal at hand and gives children structure.
- Differentiate the outcome and performance goals. Outcome goals are based on outperforming peers or winning a specific match. Performance goals are based on personal improvement. It’s important that children understand that they can improve their skills on a personal level, regardless of the outcome.
- Break it down into steps. If you are helping a young athlete reach a long-term goal, such as running a particularly difficult race, you need to break it down into smaller goals that will help the child achieve the final goal. Children should have daily goals, short-term goals (to be hit every 1-3 months), and finally a long-term goal, which can be the large event at hand.
- Encourage parental support. What happens after practice is as important as what happens during. Parents need to support young athletes’ needs- whether that’s at-home training, healthy eating habits, or anything else.
- Periodic check-ins. After setting goals, you should be checking in with the athlete periodically to review progress and adjust where necessary.
Supporting young athletes on their journey to self-improvement is a worthwhile cause. Athletics help children foster skills like leadership, self-confidence, and discipline early in life. By helping a child set athletic goals, you can help them improve themselves as a person. Contact Schaumburg Seminoles today!