Goal setting is an extremely important and valuable practice, especially as an athlete, in order to excel at whatever it is we chose to do.  Setting a goal is choosing a target, or desired outcome, and narrowing in and focusing on it in order to achieve it. Setting a goal requires a mental process in which one must probe his or her own internal capabilities and desires, along with the external challenges and opportunities. After selecting a desired outcome as a goal, you should then ask yourself some follow up questions, such as: “What obstacles are standing in the way of accomplishing that goal?”, and “What steps can I take to overcome these obstacles?” Once arriving at the answers to these questions, you can focus on the task at hand. This process of setting a goal can help mollify, or even eliminate unnecessary, negative, and often harmful thoughts or anxieties inherently experienced by athletes while playing a sport. For example, we all know that when we make mistakes during a game it can take a mental toll, and can be hard for us to put it behind us and maintain our confidence and motivation. Succeeding at any sport is a process. Without the motivation to keep trucking through the game, we can find ourselves losing all confidence, and therefore do not play to the best of our abilities.  Motivation and confidence come with seeking out the goals we set: whether they are for the next play, the next game, or even in our career as a whole.  Just as each athlete is unique in his or her style of play, so too are the goals they set. For example, some make goals to score a goal during the next game, or to not commit any fouls, or to learn and practice a new move to perfection, or even to extend a career and become the star player on a college, or even professional team. When we set these goals, it prepares us and motivates us to do better during each game, building our confidence along the way.  Motivation takes self-discipline and a strong desire for success, and can be aided by inspiring words and performances from your coach and teammates as well.  Whether it be by a motivational speech during a half time huddle, or by boosting your own confidence by telling yourself you’ll do better next time, each little thing helps a great deal.

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Now, finding your own general state of confidence in yourself is crucial for overcoming those setbacks that stopped motivating you and overcoming your fears.  Some of the top players with the highest self- confidence levels have followed this list of guidelines below.

1.       Project a positive image through your body language

2.       Have fun during your competitions

3.       Do not overly worry about losing or making mistakes

4.        Don’t try to impress others; play for yourself

5.       Understand your strengths and weaknesses, accept them, and learn from them


As players continue to develop and new goals are forged, the mental process of self motivation can become more complex. The motivational process has two essential aspects to it: knowing what motivates you to play the sport, and the ambition fueled by recognition.  Any athlete gets motivated by winning a big game, a tournament, being recognized by their family and friends, or having those fans and your coach give you a high five or cheer you on during the game.  When all of this is going on, you are gaining much more confidence than you had at the last game, which improves your overall performance day by day.  Every athlete has a hope of success accompanied by the fear of failure, and your best bet for success is to set a goal and believe that you can achieve it.  Some goals are easy to achieve while others require a lot of time and effort. Whatever the case, the fear of failure can be reduced and even eradicated by focusing on the desired outcome.  So set goals, realistic ones, and then tackle them during your practices and games to come.