Have you been slowly getting back into basketball lately? Perhaps you have had the chance to consistently come out to Union’s open gym sessions. You might feel like there are certain skills you’d like to work on so that you can match the competition during open sessions. Maybe you’ve been seeing other players with great moves that you want to learn and use. You may have ideas of how you want to see yourself grow but where do you even start?
One of the best ways for us to see a tangible improvement of our skills is by using effective goal-setting strategies. By introducing these techniques to our training programs, we can more accurately track our progress, work towards attainable goals, and be held accountable for the goals in which we set for ourselves. One particularly popular and useful goal-setting framework is SMART goals. This method of goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant/realistic , and time-bound.
Specific: what do I want to do?
Effective goals require specificity. Vague or ambiguous goals make it difficult to track any growth and can even be discouraging. For example, if your goal is to “become a better defensive player”, what does this mean? Does this mean you’d like to work on your footwork? Or rebounding? Or positioning? A specific goal helps us to work toward something with tangible outcomes.
Measurable: how will I do it?
Goals need to be measurable because it tells us whether or not we have achieved what we have set out to do. It helps us evaluate whether or not we are on the right trajectory towards our goal. If a goal is measurable, it should include some metric or numerical value to it. For example, your goal of improving your free throw shots could be measured by shot percentage.
Achievable: is this something I have potential to accomplish?
Goals should be set in a manner that is attainable by you. This does not mean that the goal should not still be challenging for you, but it should be something in which you believe you could accomplish through hard work, dedication, and discipline. For example, being able to dunk may be an unrealistic goal for someone, but increasing your vertical jump by 2 inches may be more attainable. This step can also be an effective way for you to identify potential barriers you may face while working towards your goal and how you may be able to overcome them.
Relevant/realistic: why does this matter?
The relevance of the goal is related to your own values and priorities. The goal should align with what you believe to be relevant or helpful to you. This can look like working towards a goal for the purpose of your team’s success, embracing your role on the court, or working on a skill that is weaker than others in your game.
Time-bound: when will I accomplish this?
Lastly, effective goals should be bound within a time. It may be easy to set a goal to improve a skill, but by putting a time cap on the goal, it forces you to be accountable to yourself for achieving something in a set time frame. A deadline is also an effective motivator for working towards your goal. It should give you enough time to accomplish your goal but also provide a sense of urgency to the goal.
Goal setting can be a very helpful tool to developing our skills and working towards improving your game. You may find some goals are short-term while others are long-term and require much more time for refining. You may even add the help of a coach or training partner to help keep you on track and accountable to your progress! Join us during our Organized Drop-in sessions for a time to practice your newfound skills, you might look to commit to joining our league, or just making connections with others in the basketball community. Union is here to support you as you work to achieve your goals!