Tag Archives: outcome

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.