Better Coaching Blog

SKLZ Lightning Bolt Baseball Pitching Machine

SKLZ Lightning Bolt Baseball Pitching Machine

How about a simple, easily portable pitching machine that will help young players learn to hit a smaller, moving ball - and it's well under $100! A constant challenge for coaches, especially youth coaches, is how can they get their players to hit a moving ball, especially without the coach wearing his arm out. This is a device I've used for a few years and it's still working great. I've used it in the winter practices inside our gyms as it pitches golf ball sized tight foam balls so there's no concern for it breaking anything. One of the cool parts - it runs using an AC adapter (plug it into an outlet) or using 6 C batteries! It's easy to setup and a drill station my 9U team could operate independently. Bonus - use this with the Web Glove to improve catching performance, also! SKLZ Lightning Bolt Baseball Pitching Machine Product Description The Lightning Bolt pitching machine is a lightweight, portable and fun training tool designed to improve contact at the plate. Through focusing on soft micro balls, batters work on the visual processing, concentration and hand-eye coordination that make hitters great. Adding a Quick Stick bat increases the challenge for even the most experienced ballplayer. Features Lightweight and portable–ideal for practicing hitting just about anywhere Builds visual acuity and hitting accuracy Automatically pitches soft practice balls 30 mph 5 second delay between pitches, to give solid repetition training Angle adjusts for different pitching locations Holds up to 26 balls at a time and includes 12 Bolt Balls Powered by AC adapter or 6 C batteries (batteries not included) The Lightning Bolt pitching machine is a lightweight, portable and fun training tool designed to improve contact at the plate. Through focusing on soft micro balls, batters work on the visual processing, concentration and hand-eye coordination that make hitters great. Adding a Quick Stick bat increases the challenge for even the most experienced ballplayer. SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pitching Machine Pro The SKLZ Lightning Bolt Pro pitching machine is a lightweight, portable, and fun training tool designed to improve contact at the plate. The machine forces hitters to intently focus on making contact with the soft micro training balls, thus developing the visual processing, concentration, and eye-hand coordination that makes hitters great. It holds 26 balls at a time and angle adjusts for different pitching locations. The five-second delay between pitches offers solid repetition training while the auto pitch feature tosses soft practice balls 25 feet at 30 miles per hour with realistic flight. Comes with 12 soft micro Bolt training balls. The shagger detaches for easy ball collection around the field or backyard. Features: Automatically pitches small soft practice balls 25 feet at 30 miles per hour with realistic flight 5 second delay between pitches, to give solid repetition training Included Shagger holds up to 26 balls at a time Runs on batteries (requires 6 size C batteries, not included) or with included AC adapter Helps improve visual acuity and hitting accuracy Angle adjusts for different pitching locations Includes 12 soft micro Bolt Balls with a 5.125 inch circumference round 0.2 ounce weight Automatically pitches soft practice balls at 30mph

Pocket Radar Smart Coach/Ball Coach

Pocket Radar Smart Coach/Ball Coach

Remember when you were a young baseball player and you wanted to know how hard someone was throwing? But no one you knew had a radar gun. So, you just estimated how fast that heater was coming in. Well, now you can have one in your pocket. I've used this radar with my 10U teams to check their exit velocity. I've also used it with my high school team for the same reason, and to check the speed of the pitchers. It's especially good to check your pitchers in their games as decreased fastball speed is a sign of fatigue, and fatigue leads to mechanical breakdown, which leads to arm injuries. Here's more on the Pocket Radar. There are two versions: Smart Coach and Ball Coach The Smart Coach links to an app which will show pitch speed (it has a few other cool options, also) on the phone or tablet. The Ball Coach gives pitch speed on the device only. Bring Your Training Home
Smart Coach App System
The Smart Coach App System, with its unique ability to automatically capture videos with embedded velocities, allows you to continue to work remotely with your coaches and participate in recruiting/scouting activities. Immediate video and velocity feedback, while training on your own at home, has been shown to result in an accelerated improvement of skills. Remote Coaching and Training: Not only is training with video analysis a powerful development tool, it is also a method of being seen remotely. The Smart Coach Radar System allows you to record videos with speeds directly embedded inside. Share these videos with coaches and scouts and post them to social media for extra recruiting visibility. As a premier provider of training tools, Pocket Radar is working with many top training programs, including Driveline Baseball with their TRAQ system, to help athletes train and develop at home. Compatible with the FREE Pocket Radar App (Available on iOS and Android)
Smart Coach Radar Companion App
The Smart Coach Radar with the Pocket Radar app is your complete speed and video training system. It is the first pro-level speed radar that can be used stand-alone or with a companion app. The combination of the Smart Coach Radar with the Pocket Radar app allows you to access many advanced features not available with any other radar guns, including the following: Instant Feedback with Remote Speed Display and Audio Speed Announcement Track Results over time with Instant History Review and Data Export Get Speeds Instantly and Record Video with Embedded Speeds at the Same Time Review Mechanics and Results with Speed Embedded in Video Capture and Share Video with Speed for Remote Coaching Share Videos of Results/Improvement Socially to Friends, Coaches and Recruiters Upload Your Videos to other training/recruiting software and apps App Device Compatibility: Apple Devices Running iOS 10 and above. Leading Android Devices Running OS 6.0 and above. Bluetooth Connectivity 4.0 and above. Accurately measures the speed of a ball or puck Baseball Softball Tennis Volleyball Hockey Lacrosse Cricket Many More Pocket Radar Smart Coach/Bluetooth App Enabled Radar Gun Speed in Video and Remote Display
The first affordable, complete speed and video training system that empowers the modern athlete and coach in many sports with the ability to create and share a digital record of their progress. By providing actionable insights into important metrics like hitting exit velocity, serve speed and pitch speed, coaches and athletes can now optimize their techniques and methods to get better results. Innovative stand-alone accurate radar gun that can also be used with an app on iOS and Android devices Exit Velocities, pitching speeds, shooting speeds, serving speeds and more can be displayed on your iOS or Android devices in bright red LED and announced via speaker Record auto-edited videos with speed embedded that you could share via email, text message or social media using the Free Pocket Radar App that pairs to the Smart Coach device via Bluetooth Track data over time in your history and export to a CSV file to monitor your progress Compatible with the Free Pocket Radar App on Apple and Android devices; Includes 2-year manufacturer’s warranty

The WebGlove - is it legit?

The WebGlove - is it legit?

Here I'm bringing you another item that I fully support. This WebGlove is unique and is a great tool to develop hand-eye coordination in young players and refine it in older players. I use these with my 11-year-old and 10-year-old players. They love the games we play with it. We have challenges using it at first base catching throws from infielders from about 15 feet away. Another challenge is with our catchers - just receiving pitches. We also use it with our outfielders catching fly balls - it's especially fun on a windy day to see the little wiffle balls float through the sky. I recommend this product to any coach or parent of baseball or softball players. It's really a one-of-a-kind training tool. And they don't pay me to say that. - Coach Sullivan This unique glove fits over your index finger and thumb to create a small pocket that safely teaches players the proper way to catch a ball in the web. It’s a challenge and any player that can consistently catch the ball with the WebGlov will have the best hands on the team. Use with the Personal Pitcher to work on: Catcher’s framing, Fly ball drills for outfielders, Turning two for middle infielders, Picking the ball at first base Fielding ground balls For young players: This is the best way to safely teach them how to catch and build confidence in their ability! Features Designed to catch Wiffle golf balls Lightweight - easy fit in a bat bag or team with team gear Durable neoprene material Fits over your index finger and thumb Universal for left or right-handed players Benefits Develop “Soft Hands” Improve Hand-Eye Coordination Build Confidence in Fielding Safely Teach Young Players How to Catch Eliminate Fear of the Ball Here are reviews from a couple happy customers. As always, let me know if there's any way we can be of help. BETTER COACHING

HECOstix - what's that?

HECOstix - what's that?

Hand Eye Coordination & Reaction Speed Training Tool What is this odd toy and how can we use it to help our athletes? Well... From their website: IMPROVE COORDINATION & REFLEX SKILLS: Increase hand eye coordination, reflexes, tracking, and decision-making skills with HECOstix. It’s perfect to train your brain and improve your skills; or just to exercise and have fun with family and friends. TRAINING FOR ANY SPORT: Used by coaches, athletes, and trainers across the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, UFC, and more; HECOstix are suitable for reaction speed, agility, and focus training in all sports; including football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and more. VARIABLE DIFFICULTY: Make the game as difficult or easy as you need and work your way up with training. Add more spin, change your call out timing, increase speed, use color + hand combinations, or change throw orientation, etc… Start with a difficulty that is right for you. WATERPROOF LIGHTWEIGHT CONSTRUCTION: Crafted from a proprietary blend of EVA foam with a textured grip; HECOstix are durable, 100% waterproof, float, and weigh only 5oz. The foam is firm while still being soft enough to avoid injury if you miss a catch. KIDS LOVE HECOSTIX: Our innovative soft foam design allows it to be safely used with young children to play at the park, in a pool, or just at home. Enjoy limitless outdoor fun with simple games while improving your child’s cognitive processing, focus, and coordination. Get it here: https://amzn.to/3Hp44mG RULES 1. Player will toss HECOstix and simultaneously call a corresponding color and/or hand
Example: throwing player calls left blue, or right red
2 Receiving player will catch the color and/or hand called by throwing player
Example: receiving player catches left blue, or right red
3 Throws must be "catchable"
• Example: if the receiver is physically incapable of getting to the HECOstix or too much spin is used
• after 2 bad throw faults, the receiver is awarded the point SCORING 1. First player to 11 points wins, must win by 2
2. Catch the color and/or hand called to get a point
3. Drop the HECOstix or fail to catch the color and/or hand called, and no point is awarded
4. Behind the back catch on the specified hand/color and 3 points are awarded The HECOStix is marketed for basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, lacrosse, and more. When I use this with younger players, ages 12 and below, we partner up. The team tries to get as many consecutive catches as possible. And we change the rules a little. - the HECOStix has to rotate one time, minimum - after the team gets to 10, they must alternate which hand to catch with The rules changes make it fit younger athletes a little better. When working with my high school players, we've played a game of ultimate football with the HECOStix and it was a BLAST! FINAL As stated in other blogs on this site, I'm really particular when it comes to recommending products. However, this is one of the core products that I highly recommend. It's so simple to add to a ball bag or a team bag and for the players to get together and play a quick game during pre-practice or pregame warmups. Get your HECOStix here: https://amzn.to/3Hp44mG

Camwood Bats - are they worth the hype?

Camwood Bats - are they worth the hype?

The Camwood bat is the new swing trainer on the market. I have one and use it for my two sons - ages 11 and 12 and I can honestly report it has slightly increased their swing speed as gauged by a Blast Motion sensor. You can get the adult version below. Here is a link to the youth size Camwood bat. Here's a good breakdown of the bat from Northern Baseball Training And here's the promotional video from the Camwood Bat company. Comment below: Have you used one? What do you think about it?

Curveballs - Kids Shouldn't Throw Them, Right?

Curveballs - Kids Shouldn't Throw Them, Right?

OK, here’s a baseball topic that I’ve been consistently pushing for the last 5 years but “baseball experts” won’t listen. First, all coaches should read this blog post in its entirety. Being educated should be a major priority for all coaches, and really, all people. Secondly, I’ll start with the punch line: Curveballs create no higher risk for arm injury, strain, or pain, than any other pitch. Do the research – and I’ll provide some. In a systematic review of curveballs as a risk factor, conducted by 3 medical doctors, first published in PubMed in August of 2013, the researchers aimed to evaluate the scientific evidence regarding the curveball and its impact on pitching biomechanics and the overall risk of arm injuries in baseball pitchers. They reviewed ten biomechanical studies on kinematic or electromyographic analysis of pitching a curveball, as well as five epidemiologic studies that assessed pain or injury incidence in pitchers throwing the curveball. They concluded that, despite much debate (as we see in youth baseball circles), the data does not indicate throwing a curveball creates an increases risk of injury as opposed to a fastball. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1941738113501984 In another study, 5 medical professionals set out to look at the biomechanical comparison between fastballs and curveballs as a risk factor for shoulder and elbow injuries. This study showed maximal glenohumeral (shoulder) internal rotation moment (most stress) and the maximum varus elbow moment (most stress) for the fastball was significantly higher than for the curveball. The same goes true for wrist flexor moment. However, the wrist ulnar moment was greater when throwing the curveball. When they say "moments" they're talking about points in time where stress and strain is high. Their conclusion: the moments in the shoulder and elbow were less when throwing a curveball than when throwing a fastball. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363546509333264 Finally (I’ll stop at 3), 5 medical professionals, including Glenn S. Fleisig, MD, from the American Sports Medicine Institute, and James R. Andrews, MD (the highest profile sports orthopedic surgeon around). The researchers set out to test youth baseball pitchers with an average age of 12.5 years old. Data was collected with a 3D motion analysis system – kinetic, kinematic, and temporal parameters were compared among the fastball, and changeup, and the curveball. For elbow varus torque, shoulder internal rotation torque, elbow proximal force, and shoulder proximal force, the fastball produced the greatest values, followed by the curveball and then the change-up. The fastball also produced the greatest elbow flexion torque. Shoulder horizontal adduction torque and shoulder adduction torque were the least for the change-up. Conclusion: elbow and shoulder loads were the greatest in the fastballs, and least in the changeups. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0363546507310074 Now, I’m not saying you should teach your kids to throw a curveball. That’ll depend on their development, control with the fastball and changeup first, and many other factors. But I am saying you should be educated on your decisions, not just regurgitating what your Little League coach told you 30 years ago. Any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Year-Round Baseball - Come on Man!

Year-Round Baseball - Come on Man!

So, now is the time we're deep into fall baseball. All COVID aside, the boys of summer are still out there performing the same rotational movements when they throw, pitch, and swing the bat, as they did this summer if they were lucky enough to do so. To put it all out there, I don't support most fall baseball programs. Some are money grabs, and some are set out with good intentions, believing that fall baseball is somehow required for a young man to play high school baseball someday. It's just not the case - not necessary, and not overall helpful; definitely not for the risk. Here's a quick explanation of Tommy John surgery - research shows this type of surgery has drastically increased in direct correlation with the popularity of year-round baseball. This surgery is being seen in 13 and 14-year old players and is attributed to the overuse during their younger years. Many parents are in favor, and in search of a program that offers fall baseball. And some look for a program with year-round options because more is better, right? Well, no. The research is clear on this. Not only is more worse for young baseball players physically and mentally, but it's also been shown to be a non-factor in making that high school team. Just had a conversation today with a youth baseball coach. It went like this: Me - "I don't plan to have my team practice October through January. We'll pick back up in February." Him - "Well, you know the organization gives you two practice slots per week all through the fall and winter." Me - "Yeah, I know. But it's not good for young bodies - the rotational movements they will conduct while throwing and swinging - there's just too much research against it." Him - "But it's only two days per week." Me - "Yeah, and it's not in line with the medical recommendation to take 4 months completely off of the rotational movement, and from throwing." Him - "But you need that practice to play in the upper league. Your boys won't be ready!" Dude, you just don't get it. It's science vs "Your boys won't be ready!" Come on, man! Below you'll find more information on this. Some is commercial information with bits of research and other links will lead you to the actual research conducted, peer-reviewed, and published. Enjoy! The Number-one Risk of Arm Injuries Continues to be Year-round Play BY DR. JAMES ANDREWS Year-Round Baseball – Is it Safe? Year-round baseball leads to more youth injuries, study says Medical Express JOHN SMOLTZ AND YEAR-ROUND BASEBALL Elite Diamond Performance Don’t let your son play baseball year-round… Dr. Brad Carofino The Dangers of Year-Round Training in Youth Baseball The North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy Prevention of Arm Injury in Youth Baseball Pitchers Edmund Kenneth Kerut, MD, FACC; Denise Goodfellow Kerut, MD, FAAP; Glenn S. Fleisig, PhD; and James R. Andrews, MD (if nothing else, just go to the Summary and Conclusion on page 3) Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction in High School Baseball Players: Clinical Results and Injury Risk Factors Damon H. Petty, MD, James R. Andrews, MD, Glenn S Fleisig, PhD, E. Lyle Cain, MD

How to Handle Concussions in Youth Hockey

How to Handle Concussions in Youth Hockey

This is a guest post from Candace DiGiacomo of Tucker Hockey. For spectators, one of the most compelling aspects of hockey is its physicality and high-tempo nature. Many hockey players also relish the physical battle, but sometimes that can manifest itself in harmful ways. On rare occasions, this could take the form of concussion, which is something that players, parents and especially coaches have a duty to handle sensibly. Concussion doesn’t strictly mean that the player has lost consciousness. While that certainly is a symptom of concussion, there are numerous other red flags which coaches and parents should learn. If the player seems dizzy, is finding it difficult to keep his/her balance or slurs his/her speech, these could all hint at concussion. Also, if he/she complains about feeling unwell or having a headache, something that wouldn’t be decipherable to others, take his/her word for it and treat it as a potential concussion case. If you’re a coach and you have even the slightest concern that one of your players might be concussed, take them off the ice immediately and inform a suitable medical professional. The player’s parents should also be notified, although they would most likely rush to his/her aid if they’re attending the game and they witness the potential concussion incident. Players, too, should think safety first and be honest about their symptoms. This is one case where it’s OK for a player to prioritize their own welfare over the collective good; their health is far more important than any scoreboard. If you are involved in hockey, it’s worth taking a few moments to read through this infographic by Tucker Hockey on dealing with concussion on the ice. Candace DiGiacomo works for Tucker Hockey, a Calgary-based hockey school offering tuition to adult players as well as minors. The school is run by Rex Tucker, an accomplished coach with 20 years’ experience of coaching hockey players of all ages and abilities.

Discipline and Body Language

Discipline and Body Language

Body language is an outward sign of the emotional stage of the player. It works both ways – emotions change body language and body language can change emotions. That’s where solid play begins. If the athlete isn’t confident and ready, the play will be inconsistent, at best. Follow the link below for a good article on how discipline effects an athlete. Article Here.

Sleep: The Miracle

Sleep: The Miracle

GETTING A PROPER AMOUNT OF SLEEP IS AS IMPORTANT AS ANY WORKOUT YOU CAN IMAGINE FOR YOUR ATHLETES I want to identify a topic that is vastly overlooked during an intense physical training program for youth athletes.  This topic is something that many of us would equate with a miracle drug.  It’s something that we all (or most of us) enjoy and something we often ignore. It’s often talked about with us in awe of those that use it and many of us with we got more of it. It seems like the ultimate passive activity and the least productive part of our lives. Let’s talk about sleep. With millions of us deficient regarding our sleep patterns, it’s clear that we need more, better sleep.  Most of us actually need more sleep than we’re getting.  Surveys conducted by the American Psychological Association between 1999 and 2004 showed that over 70 different sleep disorders were represented in more than 40 million Americans and up to 60% of us report at least a few nights per week of sleep issues.  Possibly even more concerning, according to the American Psychological Association, 69 percent of children have experienced one or more sleep problems a few nights a week. Wonder why a kid is lost in space during practice? Although we all have differing needs for amounts of sleep, the general rule is us humans are built for about 16 hours of conscious thought and approximately eight hours of sleep at night.  Some of us report that six hours of sleep is all we need, that’s not likely correct, but others state a need for up to ten hours according to the American Psychological Association. Children, up to about age 17-18, should receive closer to 9 hours for proper physical development and cognitive function. During sleep muscle cells repair, muscles grow, growth hormone is produced, and protein synthesis occurs. One fascinating process is the rush of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through the brain to wash out the waste created by the massive amount of work by the brain cells. Without these occurrences, our bodies will not be able to grow or repair itself as needed, we won’t feel as energized, or as mentally clear. Additionally, skipping sleep can drastically lower testosterone levels in as little as ONE WEEK. This lower testosterone is directly linked to lower energy, concentration problems, higher levels of fatigue and a decrease in strength. In a study by the University of Chicago Medical Center, 10 healthy men age 18-23 were deprived of sleep for one week and their tests showed a drop of 10-15% in testosterone. And we all know what testosterone does for us, and our athletes. The real question may be, how can us coaches apply these lessons to our lives, as well. #BETTERCOACHING

Self-Confidence vs Self-Efficacy

Self-Confidence vs Self-Efficacy

YOU CAN'T HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER...OR CAN YOU? March Madness is a time when we see young men, phenomenal athletes, walk to the foul line in pressure situations nearly every night. At times, they produce with what an announcer will inevitably call “ice in their veins” or miss a shot in a big moment and be labelled a “choke artist.” At the root of this performance (or lack thereof) is confidence. Many authors have written about this topic and more coaches have researched it. It’s one topic that I’ve spent many hours working on to figure out how to instill in my young athletes. I dedicated half of a podcast interview to methods I use to instill confidence in youth athletes. For athletes, having a high level of confidence is as important as the physical skill set needed to perform in their sport. We, as coaches, understand the importance of having our players perform with confidence, but how do we get them to do that? Some steps outlined by the leading sport psychologists include the importance of calling on past successes, performing positive self-talk, remaining positive, and modeling behaviors of higher performing athletes. Many of these concepts are spoken about in various forms on podcasts such as Brian Cain’s Peak Performance podcast, the Sport Psychology Mind Coach – Chris Thomas’ podcast and mental training coaches such as James Leath and Will Drumright on the numerous podcasts in which they are featured. The one I have used more than any other is reminding my athletes of their past successes. Throughout a softball season, I spend a lot of time talking with the players about the work they’ve put in and the successes they’ve had. I ask them to tell me about their successes in school, at home and on the field. This is in an effort to remind them often that they truly have had successes as we, by nature, remember the failures much more vividly. This is especially effective when one of my players made a big hit or a great defensive play in a big situation. While self-confidence and self-efficacy are commonly thought to be interchangeable, the main difference is that self-confidence is an overarching view of one’s own aptitude while self-efficacy is situationally dependent. Many sport psychologists consider self-confidence to be a personality trait; one that can, and does, adjust over time. And we all know what that trait looks like. The major benefit of an increased state of self-confidence is its ability to overtake negative emotion and increased levels of anxiety. This can be applied in all facets of life. Self-efficacy differs in that it is a concept that can be measured on many different levels. While self-confidence is the broad stroke of the paint brush, self-efficacy is the fine tipped pen. As self-confidence is a deeper part of one’s personality, it remains more constant over time, and shows a slower, more gradual change. Self-efficacy changes much more quickly and can do so from one simple task to another as it’s assigned based on the confidence the athlete has in the immediate skill he is performing at the time. Do you have any tips as to how you grow the self-confidence in your players? What about situations in which you see self-efficacy with a general lack of self-confidence? Let me know. Send me an email at: coachmorgansullivan@gmail.com BETTER EVERY DAY!

Goal-Setting

Goal-Setting

Why set goals? How do we do it? What are the benefits? Why set goals? Think about throwing a ball. Do you consider where your target is? Do you align your body (ideally) to best throw to your target? Every one of us may spend countless hours to think about our present life and future. Most of us wish to change our lives in one way or another. Whether it is family life, friendship, career or finances, there’s often something that we would change. The first step is to set goals. Figure out A (where you are) and Z (your goal) and then figure out B through Y and you have a roadmap to get what you want. What are some benefits of goal setting you ask? 1. You focus on the important things Goals help us to define our priorities. You will be able to focus on what you want to achieve and spend precious time on them. If it’s not important enough to set a goal, you’ll be less likely to waste time on it. 2. You will be more self-confident and enthusiastic When you set a goal and measure the achievement, you are able to see what you have accomplished and what you are capable of. This process of achieving goals provides you with the assurance and a belief in yourself necessary to improve both self-confidence and self-efficacy. This sense of accomplishment will create an excitement within yourself to take on another challenge! 3. You can finish the task efficiently Goals will allow you to create a roadmap for future actions. This will prevent wasted effort and allow you to see both progress in what you have accomplished so far, and the next steps needed to get where you want. You will focus and concentrate your time and energy on the task and keep away distractions. 4. You will make progress After you have achieved one goal, you will try to achieve higher goals. In the long turn, you will see big progress you have made when look back. You’ll grow more faith in the system and will begin to use it more and more in your daily life. 5. You take control of your life Having a system of setting goals is like a GPS for life. It gives you direction and helps you choose where to go in life. It makes you see a vision regarding your ideal future and to turn it into reality. Dr. Edwin Locke Are the benefits listed above enough to turn you into a goal-setting machine? Or do you want to learn more? Dr. Edwin Locke and colleagues say goal setting is an objective, aim, or action to attain a specific standard of proficiency on a task, usually within a specific period of time. For more information regarding setting goals and specifically Dr. Locke’s goal setting theory, please go to the following website: http://www.edwinlocke.com/ How do We Apply This? To change an individual’s behavior and reaction to both positive and negative experiences, there must be a good reason. Learning to set goals is a good reason. Goal-setting: • Short-term to Long-term goals – define success • Realistic • Challenging • Specific • Quantifiable • Participation There is no more effective learning strategy that I know of, supported more strongly by research, than goal-setting. Below is a sample goal-setting strategy. Remember, short-term and specific leads to long-term and measurable. • S = Specific • M = Measurable • A = Attainable • R = Realistic • T = Timely Specific Goals should be as objective as possible, clearly explaining what you want to happen… in detail… What, Why, When, Where, and How. Measurable You must be able to precisely measure each goal, often this area is called quantifiable. You should establish benchmarks and create a “map” that leads you to a target. As an individual recognizes they accomplished a goal, motivation increases, and provides the fuel for this journey. Also, measuring goals provides valuable feedback for adjustments if some goals are not met. Attainable When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financially capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals. You can attain most any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a timeframe that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them. Realistic An individual must have the understanding and skill set necessary to accomplish, at least, the beginning short-term goals. Success breeds success and creates the willingness to set more challenging goals. Timely An effective goal-setting program must have a timeframe for learning. This “calendar” keeps the individual on track and provides key measurement information. Goals can be further divided into types of goals. Outcome Goals: The focus here is on the end result, a win, the time in a race Performance Goals: Here athletes attempt to meet a standard of performance, improving free-throw shooting proficiency. Process Goals: Actions and/or components of a movement are the focus: such as improving balance in a golf swing. Finally, make sure that you provide feedback on goal performance. You measure your progress and see how you are doing. If the goal is too hard, adjust the goal’s difficulty, but be realistic about it. If you’re not giving enough effort, reevaluate the goal and decide if it’s really worth it to you. If you follow these simple rules, your goal setting process will be much more successful, and your overall performance will improve. #BETTERCOACHING