The SMART Approach to Goalsetting

27 Nov 2023
3 min read
Author – Vedika Jogani

A recent graduate from Ithaca College with a Master’s degree in Sports and Exercise Science, specializing in Mental Performance, Vedika Jogani is OMP’s Product and Content Manager. During her studies, Vedika worked closely with Ithaca’s Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams and Women’s Volleyball Team as their Mental Performance Consultant. Vedika is currently completing her Certified Mental Performance Consultant Certification.

Embarking on the journey of goal setting provides athletes with a psychological advantage that can elevate their performance to unprecedented heights.

Delving into the realm of goal setting, one discovers a powerful mental training technique that not only enhances commitment but also paves the way for increased confidence, self-efficacy and motivation making it a cornerstone of success in the sporting arena.  

What is Goal Setting?  

At its core, goal setting is a mental training technique designed to heighten an individual’s commitment to realizing personal aspirations.

These aspirations can be categorized into three distinct types, each playing a crucial role in an athlete’s developmental journey: Outcome Goals, Performance Goals, and Process Goals. 

  • Outcome Goals: Focused on specific results in competition or training, these goals provide athletes with a clear target, a tangible measure of success. 
  • Performance Goals: Geared towards continuous improvement over time, performance goals empower athletes to refine their skills and elevate their capabilities. 
  • Process Goals: Concentrating on specific skills and tasks, process goals break down the journey to success into manageable, actionable steps. 

A powerful method that has been used is the SMART goal setting technique. 

S: Specific 

Your goals should be laser-focused on what you aim to accomplish. Take a basketball player, for instance, setting specific goals to increase their free throw percentage by 5% over the next three games. 

M: Measurable 

Make your goals objective, quantifiable, and measurable. Transform vague aspirations into tangible objectives, like setting a goal to convert 25 more free throws in the next five games. 

A: Achievable 

Collaborate with your coaching staff to set goals that strike the delicate balance between ambition and achievability. Realistic goals foster progress and prevent frustration and demotivation. 

R: Relevant 

Align your goals with the broader objectives of your athletic journey. Your aspirations should contribute to personal development and overall performance enhancement. 

T: Time Sensitive 

Infuse your goals with urgency and commitment by setting clear time frames. Deadlines foster discipline, keeping athletes on track and accountable to their aspirations. 

In the words of sprinting legend Usain Bolt, “If you want to be the best or strive for more, you’ve got to set goals in life.”

So, embark on your journey to greatness with the compass of goal setting, unlocking your full potential and sculpting a path to success. 



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