By Dan Gordon
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That way you set a realistic target, but you don’t make the athlete feel like you don’t believe in them. So far, I have focused on time-based (performance) goals, but my goal-setting with athletes goes far beyond that. Obviously we set outcome goals as well, for example many of my athletes have goals to medal in specific championships. I know some people aren’t keen on outcome goals because they are externally referenced, but at the end of the day, that’s what competition is about – pitting yourself against other people.
Further study The list below highlights some key publications and supporting material that will assist you in your understanding and appreciation for the application of goal-setting to sport. As such, there is literature related to the role of the coach in goal-setting, the use of different goal strategies and the use of long-term goal-setting programmes on athletic performance. Boyce, B A (1990) The effects of instructor-set goals upon skill acquisition and retention of a selected shooting task.
Qxd 1/4/09 12:59 Page 30 3 / Skill acquisition and learning How does this work in a sporting context? When the individual practices a skill, a series of sensory files are produced, very much like the way in which files are produced on a computer. This perceptual memory file is amended each time the skill is performed, but all actions are compared with the most up-to-date file. This is a fascinating model and one which received some attention in the mid- to late-1970s, but which finally became subsumed by a larger more robust theory of skill acquisition, namely Schema theory (Schmidt, 1975).
Coaching Science by Dan Gordon