Setting team goals for the season or the entire year should be a group effort—not a coach-driven spreadsheet or list. Each athlete on your team will come into the season with different goals, motivations, and values, and as a coach, part of your job is to help the team blend the overarching team goals and values with those individual drivers.
The process begins with some thoughtful conversations, and should continue throughout the season. Here, TrueSport Expert and registered social work, Nadia Kyba, MSW, shares advice for how to get team and individual goals as aligned as possible.
Understand the difference between goals and values
Values include characteristics like hard work, courage, respect, and integrity, while goals are more specific and focused around actionable items, explains Kyba. While your team should have both process and outcome goals for the season, it's important to focus on the values that the team holds together. Your team should pay attention to values as well as goals. This allows for each individual to also have a set of individual, specific goals for the season while still feeling in alignment with the team's values.
Start the season with a team meeting about goals and values
Kyba recommends discussing goals and values early on. In the beginning of the season, hold a team meeting where you discuss all of the objectives for the season. Who do your players want to be? What characteristics will help the team be strong and successful as a unit? What goals should the team focus on? Come up with a list, starting with the bigger picture values like hard work before getting granular on outcome goals like winning a regional championship title and process goals like showing up to practice on time and ready to work every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Make sure all the athletes on the team actively participate in this exercise: Athletes are much more likely to buy in and take ownership of goals and values that they create, rather than ones you've preselected for them. Allow some time for athletes to also reflect and write out their individual goals for the season, encouraging them to think in terms of process and outcome goals.