“Teen goal setting.” That might seem to be a contradictory statement, but it does not have to be. Achieving your goals as a teen is a complicated process. So complicated, in fact, that I believe most teens do not even attempt to set goals. If the teen wants to be a top quarterback, the goal setting process is that much more difficult – but also that much more important.
Here are 5 steps I ask my quarterbacks to go through during QB training.
1. Get aligned with your support structure. Developing quarterbacks are in for a lot of work. The position demands more time, effort and energy than any other sports position I can think of. The effort is both physical and mental. Quarterbacks need to devote extra time on and off the practice field. In order to invest this much time, the QB’s support structures (parents, team, church and coach) all need to be on the same page. The QB must give permission to his supporters to provide guidance when they see him deviate from his goals.
2. Set big, but not unrealistic goals. A big goal for a developing QB might be “I am going to be the starting QB on my team next year.” A big goal for an experienced QB could be, “I am going to help my team win the district title this year.” Setting big, but reachable goals does two things. First, it forces you to think about what is possible, not just what is immediately in front of us. Second, big goals, as you break them down in steps 3 – 5, force you to think differently – to challenge what you are currently doing and think of ways to do things differently. Write the goal down.
3. Next, break the big goal into at least 5 smaller objectives. You will have lots of objectives in pursuit of your big goal. Focusing on 5 to 10 at any one time is about all that most can handle. Objectives look like: “I am going to hit a target at 20 yards 9 out of 10 times,” or “I want to take a tenth of a second off my 40 time.” They are small and attainable. I also like lots of objectives to support a big goal because if a quarterback does not attain one or two of his objectives, it will not jeopardize the bigger goal. Establishing several objectives also gives you an opportunity to succeed regularly. Write the objectives below your goal.
4. Assess the objectives and ask “Are these objectives in line with my goal and the goal of my team?” If so, determine what specific actions you will take to achieve them. The specific actions are called “tactics.” What exercises, training, studying, or practice do I need? Write 3 or 4 different things for each objective. Set up a schedule where you can pace out these tactics over the course of a week. Try to schedule each exercise, study session, practice, etc for at least twice a week. Share your plan with your support structure.
5. Follow your weekly plan. Easy enough, right? Well, the “follow your plan” part is where most goal achievement efforts run into trouble. No one can force you to follow your plan. Your support structure will lend encouragement, but you must be accountable to yourself and to your team. A tactic I like to ensure that you are following your plan is to reserve a weekend afternoon as your make-up session. If you miss a day during the week, don’t beat yourself up over it; just make it up later in the week. Committing that you will make up a training session on another day will provide you a little extra incentive not to miss the day in the first place. When you do miss a day, you have a plan keep your overall objective attainment on track.
Lastly, failure does not exist in this process. Some people believe that if they don’t attain their goal they have failed. I disagree. The fact that you pursued a goal in the first place makes you part of small successful group. If you approached your goal systematically and gave it everything you had, you are now in an elite group. You will be far better than when you started and you and your team will be better for your effort!
Don't Practice It, Master It!
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