Since finishing my QSEP stage two I want to take this blog a little further to expand upon my expierences and to describe some of the key skills and thoughts in sport psychology. I hope that this will engage a wider audience and spread the word of sport psychology further.
I think it is an easy argument to say that goal setting is probably the most widely researched, widely used and over underestimated area of psychology and developing motivational behaviour. It is widely popular and applicable to nearly ever person on the planet.
90% of research has suggested that specific and difficult goals lead to a greater performance. Goals are whatever and individual is striving to acheive in their life be it a gold medal, a university degree, a good job, a nice house, a nice partner or just to be happy. Goals generate motivation by focusing attention on the discrepancy between present and ideal levels of accomplishment.
Suggested goals do not always enhance perofrmance. Only those that are difficult and specific allow people to gain a better performance. Difficult goals energise performers and specific goal direct towards specific courses of action. There is also one other critical variable in goal setting. Feedback is important for effective goal setting. Goals are most effective when there is feedback given in relation to the goal. People need a way of tracking or checking their performance goals. Finally a performer must accept their goals, this acceptance breeds commitment to a goal.
There are four factors that will influence wether a goal is accepted or rejected by an individual:
1. Percieved difficult 2. Participation in the process of goal setting 3. Credability of the person assigning the goals 4. Extrinisic incentives.
Generally speaking people do not accept goals that other try to impose on them. However if they beleive they are involved in the process then acceptance is more likely. So how do we set successful goals everyone who has done a coaching or managment course knows the acronym SMART where Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Framed goals are set by performers and their coaches of managers. I will attempt to expand on this a little now with some extra tips below:
1. The more difficult the goal, the greater the achievement. 2. The more specific or explicit the goal, the more precisely performance is regulated. 3. Goals that are both specific and difficult lead to highest performance. 4. Commitment to goals is more critical when goals are specific and difficult. 5 High commitment to a goal is achieved when: a) the individual is convinced that the goal is importnat b) the individual is convinced the goal is attainable 6. In addition to having a direct influence on perofrmance, self-efficacy influences: a) the difficuly level of the goal chosen or accepted b) the commitment to goals c) the response to negative feedback of failure d) the choice of task strategies 7. Goal seting is more effective when there is feedback showing progress in relation to the goal. 8. Goals affect performance by affective the direction of action, the degree of effort exerted, and the persistance of action over time.
I hope that this post will help those interested in setting goals for their performer understand goals in more depth than the average SMART goal setting information