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The way to success in sports is hard work but on the other hand to achieve and succeed you must do the right things, at the right place and the right moment, Otherwise you just waste energy. Goals will put you on the right path.

Goals setting are one of the most important skills for athletes in order to help them achieve optimal performance. The goal setting process helps athletes understand where they are currently and where they want to go. Goals also help athletes to escape from routine, reinforce their internal motives for success and improve the quality of their training. The goals must me personal and through the process (training) they aim for a better performance and not for the outcome of a competition.

  • Process goals: Are used to improve the execution of a skill
  • Performance goals: Are related to various statistics that can help a person improve at what he/she is trying to do
  • Outcome goals: Are related to winning or losing or specific results of a competition

The athletes can fully manage performance goals because they have more control on their performance and less for the result of a competition. Everything in a competition is relevant to their performance and many process goals can be set for many aspects of your sport. For example, swimmers should have process goals for the start, turns, begging, middle and end of a race. In addition to, athletes tend to be more focused and committed to training when goals are clearly established and they know exactly when they have achieved them. For this reason, goals must be:

  • Specific: Athletes must know exactly what to do
  • Measurable: repetitions, meters, time…
  • Action oriented: Goals will show what to do and succeed
  • Realistic: Not extreme but challenging and moderately difficult
  • Timely: Short term to accomplish the long term. Fast results can either disappoint the athletes or lead to injuries and burnout or fake success with no duration
  • Self-Determined: The athlete should set his/her own goals


Remember, it is common for athletes to set and have clear goals about what success they want to achieve in their sports. However, when it comes to training and practice sessions many athletes do not have well-defined goals. But training is critical to success in competition. The best athletes in the world are those that train smart, with well-structured goals for each practice.