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Coaching and Goal Setting in Youth Sports

When it comes to goal setting, coaching and youth sports, I have a unique perspective...

I was a Division 1 Basketball Player. I am a Youth Basketball Coach. I am a Certified Mental Game Coach and the CEO of Great Sports Minds LLC.

I work with athletes, coaches and parents to provide training to strengthen their mental game to improve their performance.

Coaching youth basketball teams over the past two seasons has given me the opportunity to weave some of my mental game training into my practices and games.

After many years of coaching, I made two significant changes to my coaching style...

First, at practice, I modified the beginning of practice to ask each player:

“What skill are you focusing  on at today’s practice?”

At the end of each practice, I ask each player:

“How was your effort? How did you do on your practice goal today?”

The quality of the practice goals set by each player improved with each practice.

  • Weak hand dribble
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Why to Drop Expectations

Having certain expectations can get the best of us.

If curiosity killed the cat, expectations stressed the athlete...and I mean REALLY stressed the athlete.

There is a big difference between goals and expectations. 

Goals are aspirational.

Expectations are what we internalize and believe we should achieve.  When we don't achieve our expectations we may be brutal on ourselves for falling short.

Athletes often have ambitious goals and unrealistic expectations.  It's important to have goals. It's counter productive to have unrealistic expectations. Unrealistic expectations often lead to disappointment, anger and frustration that can derail performance.

How do you know if you have unrealistic expectations?

List your expectations.  Be honest and really list them. Then do a google search to see who has actually accomplished your expectations on a consistent basis.

There are examples of some of the expectations athletes have shared with me.

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