Soccer Skills:

Why Goal Setting and Self Evaluation Works for Athletes

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Steve Webb from YAthlete

The one thing that separates the successful athletes who reach their highest potential level from those who don’t are the ones who lack focus. Focus defined is the concentration of attention or energy on something: i.e. a goal. As an athlete looking to make it in their respective sport, whether its high school, collegiate, professional or Olympic level, having a focused and clear goal-oriented mindset is what will propel the athlete towards success.

Based around my career in the NHL, I created a program called, “YAthlete.” The Y Athlete teaches athletes to have a purpose for anything and everything they do: for this very reason the ‘Y’ in Y Athlete stands for the word ‘why’ itself.

The idea behind the Y Athlete is to teach the drive behind your actions!

What is your drive? What’s makes you fire on all cylinders everyday? What excites you so much, that IT would make you jump out of bed a 5:30am in the morning, so you can get a run or lift in before the busy day that lies ahead? What is IT that when you run into an unfavorable situation, the IT will help you battle through the adversity with the right attitude? Have you ever thought hard into Y you do the things you do. Y do you eat what you eat. Y you listen to what you listen to or Y you hang around the people you do. There are answers to all of these questions. But, are they truly the most powerful answers –  or are they just answers that you think the person asking wants to hear? Most of the time we are making decisions to the things we do without ever asking the question: Are these actions or decisions that I am about to make going to take me closer to my goals or lead me astray from my goals?

You must align your thoughts and actions with what you value.

What is your ultimate Y? Right now, instead of looking at your whole life and asking Y to everything I am asking you to focus on the question, “Y do you play sports?” What are you looking to accomplish through your participation in sports? Are you looking to receive a collegiate athletic scholarship? Maybe you would like to participate at international competitions for your country, which in turn may just earn you a future spot on your country’s Olympic team. What about the possibility of playing a sport at the professional level? One great goal maybe that you love to participate in games with your teammates and friends which is a very nice goal. But, I am here to talk with the serious minded athletes. The athletes looking at being the best they can possibly be and willing to do what it takes to succeed.

Maybe you have never even thought about this question before. I know there are others that may already have planned out a purpose filled course in order to attain what ever it is they are seeking. There are a lot of roads out there to take to your final destination, some are thruways and while others maybe filled with bunches of red lights. Also remember there are some roads that will drive you up to the front door of your destination, while others may take you down a rough, bumpy road that leads to a dead end. Imagine putting in all those hours and years of hard work, commitment and discipline in only to find yourself knocking on the wrong door or no door at all! One thing is for sure and that is while working towards your goal there is definitely not a lot of room for making the wrong decisions. There is no replay button you can hit and go back to fix the wrong turns you may have made. So lets get you started out in the right direction and minimize the wrong turns or detours you may make. As John Wooden once stated, “The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action.”

Let your actions do your talking!

So how do you go about setting goals and getting the support you need to reach them? We believe it all starts with your Ultimate Goal, The Y you play. Take some time to think about your reason behind your game. From there, you can begin to decide upon what we call Season Goals. Whatever point you’re at today, you can figure out and decide what do I want to accomplish right now that will take me to my ultimate goal? And, what actions do I need to perform to get there?

Setting goals may be challenging at first, but once you get in the habit of doing it, goals can definitely become fun and inspiring. We encourage athletes to remember: “It isn’t just about where you want to be in your sport, but rather it is what you have to do to get where you want to be.” This is why daily evaluation on the actions you’re taking to reach your goals become so important. Have you ever thought about the level you perform at with regard to your nutrition? Your rest? Your work ethic? Daily evaluation enables an athlete to experience and feel process success and not just outcome success. By placing you, the athlete, at the forefront of decision-making,  you become the catalyzing force in the process of improving and achieving your goals.

In an acceptance of responsibility, comes awareness and respect that doesn’t  only make someone a better athlete, but a better person as well.

Choose Your Journey, Make It Happen!

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About the Author

Despite never being the most talented player or fastest skater or best goal scorer, Steve Webb carved out an 8 year NHL career as a beloved Islander. How did he do it? Determination. Webb knew he couldn't make it on skill, but he couldn’t be beat in hustle. Leveraging his NHL background and combining it with his passion for helping youth athletes, Steve founded YAthlete. YAthlete enables an athlete to consider, reflect and track progress in ways that extend far beyond “number of reps”. The YTool empowers athletes who are willing to accept responsibility and accountability to achieving their goals as an athlete – and a person.

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