Goal Setting Is the Key to Success for Winning Coaches.

By Meliora Consulting and Learning Academy - March 1, 2022
Goal Setting Is the Key to Success for Winning Coaches.

Whether it's a rugby match or a spelling bee, most people will answer, "I want to W.I.N." Who among us doesn't? I've never met a competitor who says they don't care if they win as long as they enjoy themselves. It was fine when we were six, but now we're adults, it's not going to work. So, what are the strategies for success?

What you're looking for may be found in setting goals. For too long, too many organizations have overlooked the essential training tool for any team. It's free and could be the difference between a losing record of 8-8 and a winning record of 14-2. Couples often overlook goal setting because they assume that everyone on the team wants the same thing; winning; therefore, the coach is responsible for setting goals and ensuring that the team succeeds. Every team member has a different set of plans for themselves as a team member, and most coaches need to realize this. I emphasize individuals because each team member is unique and has a fantastic set of skills and personality traits, which can be seen in every training session and game of rugby. By setting team goals, the coach can bring these individuals together as a team and do so in the most efficient way possible.

Winning is not a goal but rather the outcome or result of achieving the goals we set together.

It's essential to follow a few simple rules to ensure that our goals are met to the fullest extent possible; these are the S.M.A.R.T. principles. All of these terms are defined by the acronyms "S," "M," "A," and "R," respectively.

- S is for specific. We must clearly define a goal to succeed. An excellent example of this would be our goal of winning 50% more games this year than we did last year. A 12-4 record would meet our goal of 50% more wins than last year's 8-8 record, so let's use that as a starting point. To achieve the stated objective, all team members must agree on it. It's important to remember that further goal-setting is needed to break this record; how do we get there, what we have to do as a team to get there, what attitude is needed, what training requirements are needed, etc.

- M: measurable. Is it possible to measure our goal? If our goal is to win 50% more games, we can measure our success by the number of wins and losses we record. To improve our team's performance, we would need to express our desire to do so in a way that we can quantify. Everybody has been a part of games where they didn't play well but came out on top and the other way around. Winning 50% more games is measurable, but playing better is not.

Achievable is the keyword here. What if we can increase our winning percentage by 50% throughout the season compared to the previous year? Is this possible? A 16-0 record is impossible, but our 8-8 descriptions can turn into a 12-4 one, so it's possible. This is a goal that all members of a team, not just the coach or a few, must believe is possible. With no team agreement, we cannot achieve the plan. 

- R: reasonable. Coaches face the biggest challenge of all when achieving the goals they have set for themselves. This year's dream of a record of 12-4 isn't very attainable, given that our previous record was 2-14. If the team members don't think they can succeed, they won't put their trust in the plan. It's essential to set a goal that everyone says we can accomplish together. Most of our players will see that we've set our expectations too high and won't put in the effort necessary to achieve them. "Why kill me for something that isn't going to happen?" may be the thought process. "I don't need to put in much effort to achieve that goal," we'll hear if we set our goal too low. It directly reflects our ability to help the team set realistic goals if we see this mindset in our rugby players. To achieve a goal that everyone on the team thinks we can accomplish, we must all work together.

- T: the time. When it comes to goal setting, we often don't set a specific deadline for ourselves to accomplish the goals we've set out. By the end of the season, if we win half as many games and have a 12-4 record, we have already arrived at our destination. But to ensure that we achieve our goals, we must break them down into smaller goals. For example, we need a 3-1 record after our first four (4) games to have a reasonable chance of achieving a 12-4 record. We must finish the first eight games with a history of at least 6-2.

We used only one team goal-setting example,  but we couldn't stop there. We can't expect to succeed unless we develop a solid strategy and action plan. Anybody can claim that they want to win half as many games as they currently do. That isn't enough. Coaches are responsible for setting goals with their players to help them achieve their personal and team objectives.

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