Tamaki Sports Academy
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This page is divided into seven sections
Specific A goal like 'Be a better rugby league player' is of no use. Goals need to be more precise than this. "Make the NZ U18 team this year" is a specific goal. It is a SMART goal, but it is not a good goal because whether or not you make that team is outside your control.
Measurable 'Be nicer to my sister' is specific but not SMART unless you have a way of measuring how nice you are to your sister now. Measurable means that someone else can verify your progress.
Attainable. SMART goals are goals that you can reach in the time you allow for their achievement. "leap tall buildings in a single bound" and "faster than a speeding bullet" are clearly not attainable for most athletes. These would not be SMART goals. The problem with 'attainable' is that, for lots of goals, it is very hard to know in advance whether or not they are attainable. If you can't run 100m in 11.5 seconds now, there is no guarantee that you will ever be able to achieve this goal, unless you are already close to it.
Relevant If your ultimate goal is to become a professional rugby league player the goal of being "Best in the World at Modern Warfare 3" is not relevant.
Timely SMART goals are meant to be achieved within a set time.
Goal setting and goal achievement go well beyond SMART
An outcome goal aims at something you don't control, such as making the New Zealand Under 16 team. You can influence this, but that is all. An outcome goal is an end-point or a stepping stone to the dream. It is not a good choice for a goal.
A performance goal can relate to on or off field behaviour. For example, a performance goal is something like 'make 30 tackles a game'.
But the goals you should be setting are process goals. If achieved these make performance goals possible. Performance goals lead to outcome goals.
Imagine that you want to make the national under 18 team. You have been lucky enough to be told by the coach that he likes your footwork but you miss too many tackles when you are tired. To make the team you need to play more good minutes on defence.
You can influence the outcome goal by improving your tackling when you are tired. This is a performance goal. Players with a higher 3RM squat are better at tackling when they are tired. This is another performance goal - improve your 3RM squat.
This leads to a process goal - two gym sessions a week aimed at improving leg and lower back strength. This is your goal. What you have to do is to get yourself to the gym. If you have a good programme your strength will increase. If your strength increases, you will tackle better for longer. If you tackle better for longer then the coach can remove that cross from beside your name.
TIP: It is better to aim high and miss than to aim low and succeed.
There are three kinds of things in your sporting world. They are
You control what you eat. You control when you train and how well you train. You control when you go to bed at night. You control your alcohol and drug use. You also control your on-field performance.
There are a number of things you don’t control, but do influence. These include your sporting network, selectors, and family.
There are some things, such as the weather and the wind, which you don’t control and can’t influence.
Your chances of landing a professional sporting contract will be much improved if you can
Take control of the things you control
The most important thing you control is your body. Decide what you are going to eat. Decide when you are going to sleep. Make decisions around drugs, alcohol, social life, and other distractions or life balance factors. Make achievable decisions and put them into practice.
You control your training program. You control whether or not you learn new skills. You control the fixing of your technical faults.
You take control of these things through a combination of self-discipline, goal setting, and planning.
If you play a team sport, your coach is going to expect you to look after your team mates . If you can’t look after yourself, why would he have you in his team?
Take more control of the things you can influence
You probably know one or more people your age who are no better than you, but who have been recognized and are in the development system of a professional team or club.
It’s a good bet that the difference between them and you is in this area. They influence more things than you do, and their influence is greater then yours in the things you both influence.
For example, they might know more decision makers in your sport than you do. More coaches, selectors, scouts, sponsors, and so on may have heard of your rival. The difference here is in the size of your sporting networks. Take the opportunities to play in other tournaments when these come you way, and make yourself known to people. Go up, introduce yourself, look them in the eye and shake their hand. Then, those decision makers you both know might be more likely to promote you rather than your rival.
One of our academy members broke into his (amateur) club’s premier team because he attended training during a particularly cold and wet month. In his second game the coach criticized him for not making enough power runs. He thought the problem was that the ball wasn’t getting passed to him enough.
He made the team because he did something the coach valued.
He wasn’t getting passed the ball because he was standing flat and the player inside him thought he was running a block or dummy.
On the one hand his understanding of what the coach valued got him into the team. On the other hand his communication with the player inside him was poor. This was in his power to fix, either by talking to that other player or by recognizing that that player never made flat passes.
Make it so that the things you don’t control and can’t influence, don’t matter.
You don’t control who you are playing this weekend. You don’t control the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent. You don’t control the weather. You don’t control the referee or umpire.
You make all these things irrelevant through practice and preparation.
Practice. Arrive early. Leave late. Do extras.
Anticipate what might happen next and place yourself in position to benefit from this.
Professional sport favors the thinking person.
When one of our academy boys signed his first professional contract his new coach wanted him to put on some weight, so the coach sent him to the team’s nutritionist and to the team’s strength and conditioning coach.
The young man came away from this with nutritional supplements and a weightlifting programme and advice to ‘cut down on your running for a while’. His “goal” was to put on 6kg in 12 weeks.
He only put on 4kg and in the pre-season games obviously lacked confidence. A few weeks later he was sidelined with injury.
What went wrong here?
The coach wanted the player to put on some weight. He thought that the extra kilos would protect the young fellow from injury at the highest level of the game.
What the player heard was that he needed to put on 6kg or he would get injured. Then he was told by his mates that he would lose some of his speed if he put on that much weight. In the end the player only gained 4kg. He thought he was slower and would get injured. He got injured.
Compare these two ways for the coach to the same thing
‘You’ll get smashed if you’re still that little next year’.
‘I want you to be bigger, faster, and stronger next season. Let’s see you bust through defenders’
Wants must be expressed positively. Goal setting is very difficult if thinking starts with something negative.
We set goals in order to improve. Improvement is ongoing, and there is a process, called the quality improvement cycle. It has four stages
Imagine that you are 16 and have not been selected for the national Under 18 team. You have had a look at the team, and what you have noticed is that the coach has chosen big, strong, and fast. The off-season is beginning and you want to be bigger, stronger, faster when pre-season starts.
PRIME goals have these things in common
Bigger, stronger, faster - almost every teenage player wants to achieve these over the off season.
Bigger, stronger, faster actually breaks down to four goals
Integrated means that the processes you put in place to achieve these goals must work together. This might mean that some goals cannot be pursued in the same time period as others. For example if you want to reduce your body fat and increase your muscle definition, this is very difficult to do at the same time as you are trying to ger bigger and stronger.