Goal-Setting Will Improve Your Performance
Has a negative comment or opinion by an opponent, teammate, coach or family member ever changed how you prepared or approached a football game?
Some football players believe that negative comments or slights are just what they need to increase their motivation. These athletes view negative comments as “bulletin board” material.
In the world of football, bulletin board material is seen as motivation to work harder, prepare more intently, prove doubters wrong and improve performance.
Unfortunately, bulletin board material doesn’t always work and never has a long-lasting impact. Bulletin board material may give you a temporary boost of motivation for one competition, but it is not an effective strategy to maintain long-term motivation.
As an athlete your objective is to be the best you can be throughout your career… not the best you can be in one competition. If you are lacking motivation, it could be that you do not have well-defined goals.
When you lack motivation, you will lack confidence and consistently underperform.
When you lack motivation, your work ethic decreases, making obstacles more difficult to overcome.
When you lack motivation, you will feel like you are wasting your time and won’t accomplish much in your sport.
Look at your motivation levels… Are you waiting for someone to motivate you or do you have well-defined goals that sustain your motivation?
Goal-setting is the most effective strategy to build long-term motivation. Elite athletes use goals to sustain motivation over a long, arduous season. Even though elite athletes may still use bulletin board material to give themselves a slight edge, it is their goals that give them the biggest edge over their competition and the motivation to perform consistently at their peak.
For example, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard felt slighted by a comment made by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers labeled rival linebacker Fred Warner as the best linebacker in the NFL. Leonard saw the slight as motivation to prove Rodgers wrong the very first time he plays against the Packers.
LEONARD: “You hear things like that and it gives you extra motivation… [Rodgers has] been in the league for a long time… so my first time [I play against Rodgers], I want to leave a mark. Hopefully change his mind on what he said about that.”
Leonard used the comment as bulletin board material to temporarily boost his motivation. But, ultimately, Leonard’s goal to be the best he can be is what motivates him to put in the work to succeed.
Goal setting gives you the motivation, not only to push yourself in competition, but to push yourself in practice, to prepare at a high level and to overcome obstacles along the way.
How to Sustain Motivation through Goal-Setting:
At the beginning of each season, ask your coach or a Mental Game Coach to help you identify well-defined goals for the year.
Asking another person to help you in the goal-setting process will bring into focus a clear picture of what you want to achieve and will help to ignite your motivation.