Setting Goals – Does it Help?

On the way to my past tennis tournament this Sunday, the topic of coaching tips came up. John Dunning, the volleyball coach at Stanford, has his girls from the team write at least three goals that they want to accomplish by the end of practice. They can be physical, tactical or strategic, mental, nutritional, leadership, and so forth. Both my sister and I found this very interesting and decided to give it a try for the tennis tournament.

I set three goals for myself:

  1. Smartly place my cross court shots. (tactical/strategic goal)
  2. Stay positive and use every point as a learning experience. (mental goal)
  3. Stay hydrated and save energy. (nutritional goal)

I played five matches throughout Saturday and Sunday and there were several things I noticed from setting the goals. I’ll give examples from a few of the matches I played.

Match 1

Goal 1: accomplished

Goal 2: sort of accomplished

Goal 3: accomplished

Conclusion: Goal 2 was partially accomplished but, I wasn’t always in the right mindset during the match. Sometimes I was very focused and positive about the task at hand and other times I was out of it and careful about hitting the ball. My other two goals were met though. From this match I realized that by not meeting all of my goals, I lost the match. I thought there could be a relationship between setting goals and the match results.

Match 3

Goal 1: accomplished

Goal 2: accomplished

Goal 3: accomplished

Conclusion: I accomplished all of my goals for this match. I was relaxed, played smart, and stayed hydrated. By having goals to accomplish, I feel that they helped me win the match.

Match 5

Goal 1: accomplished

Goal 2: accomplished

Goal 3: accomplished

Conclusion: Looking at the results from my third match, you would think, “Oh, she won that last match, right?” Wrong, actually. My last match was a very good one and I played hard; however, my unforced errors or “gimme points” cost me big time. Even though I did meet all of my goals, I did not win the match. This was in contrast with my idea that setting goals can help you win matches.  What it showed is that it is more important to focus on performance than outcome.

So, setting goals for you is a very good thing to do whether it’s tennis, volleyball, soccer, academics, or just life in general! It helps you think about what you can do to get better and keeps you from being so worried about the outcome. From my last match at the tournament, I wasn’t discouraged about the outcome at all. I was focused on the goals I had set for myself and I was pleased that I accomplished them. I felt like I had a successful tournament by setting goals and seeing accomplishments made throughout the weekend. Setting goals can make you more successful in all that you do.

Setting goals improves your serving and your game.
Setting goals improves your serving and your game.

Tennis Tips for Tournaments

This past weekend I participated in a satellite or challenger tennis tournament in Fort Collins, Colorado. There were several tennis tips that I learned from this tournament that I want to share with others.

  1. Stay focused throughout the points and match. You have to stay focused on what you want to accomplish and how you want to execute your shots otherwise your opponent can take advantage of you and win a few points and even a game or two.
  2. Hit the ball in and play smart. You could have the best forehands or the best backhand slice shots in the world but if you can’t hit the ball in or return it back to your opponent then you can’t compete and the match is pretty much lost. And if you only push it down the middle or beat the crud out of the ball every time you go up to the net, then your game won’t be at the level you might want it to be. If you have a selection of shots and place the ball according to how your opponent is playing or how you want to win the point, then you will be much better off.
  3. Stay active if there is a rain delay or a delay of any sort. This weekend, due to the rain we had a four hour rain delay. I found that it was better to stay patient and warm during the delay so that when I got to play, I was ready to go, and I wasn’t stiff on the court. Check the weather often too so you’ll know when you could possibly play next and you’ll be ready for your next match.
  4. Stay positive. It’s important to stay positive while you play so that you stay relaxed and play your best. If you get down on yourself you start to miss more shots, you get upset, your confidence goes down, and your playing level goes down, and then you just end up in this big hole that you dug yourself into. To prevent this, when you miss a ground stroke or a serve or a volley just think to yourself, “I’ll get it in this time,” or, “Here we go, next point.” These kinds of things go through my head and this past weekend, they helped me be successful mentally even if I lost a match.

Welcome to a Few of My Favorite Things!

Welcome to “A Few of My Favorite Things”! I will discuss a few of my favorite things on this blog. This includes tennis, volleyball, dance, photography, modeling, books, art, dogs, and so on. I will post blogs every Sunday, so check back every Sunday for a new blog!

I really look forward to sharing my life experiences, stories, tips, ideas, poems, and much more with you guys.

Thanks so much for taking the time to look at my blog. I hope you find it helpful, inspiring, funny, and enjoyable to read. Enjoy!

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