All posts by Dr. Jim Taylor
Anna FenningerMarcel Hirschermental imageryski racingtechniquevideoWorld Cup
Watching videos of yourself and World Cup racers is a valuable tool for improving technique and tactics, getting inspired, and increasing motivation, confidence, and focus. If you’re like most racers, you use it a lot during the winter as part of your training. Video enables you to more clearly understand and see what you need to work on and you can learn a great deal by seeing fast skiing demonstrated by your favorite World Cuppers. Video is also a form of mental imagery that can help you generate the image and feeling of skiing your best.
The use of video tends to decline during the summer when racers are focused on other activities. But its use should actually increase for the very same reason. Why? Because you aren’t on snow as much or at all which means you can lose the feeling of fast skiing. Video can keep you mentally sharp and allow you to develop your ski racing skills when you’re not on snow.
But just watching video isn’t going to maximize its benefits during the off-season. Instead, you can use video in specific ways to help you gain the most benefits.
If you’re like most ski racers, you are probably not watching video in the most effective way. For example, there is a tendency among racers and coaches alike to focus on your mistakes. This emphasis seems to make sense because if you watch your mistakes, you can learn from and correct them. But watching only mistakes ingrains a negative image and feeling into your mind and body much like physically practicing bad technique or tactics will instill bad skiing into your mind and muscles.
You may focus also too much on the details of the video, for example, stance or hand position. Video is used mostly for analysis, so it’s easy to obsess about every little detail rather than absorbing the whole image. Just like with actual skiing, if you focus too much on the minutiae, you lose sight of just skiing fast.
Watching World Cup videos is fun and motivating. I’m sure you have your favorites and you like to watch and fantasize about skiing like them one day. But watching too of them and not enough of yourself may cause you to imagine yourself skiing like one of them rather than the way you ski. That sounds good in theory, but the reality is that you can’t ski like the top guys and gals (at least not yet!).
You may also watch World Cuppers that you have no chance of emulating because they are so physically different from you. For example, if you’re tall and thin, you shouldn’t imagine yourself skiing like Marcel Hirscher (who is short and stocky) or Anna Fenninger (who is short and petite).
Rules of Video Watching
When you watch video follow these rules:
- Take in the whole image rather than paying too much attention to details. Allow the over-all image of good skiing sink into your mind rather than getting obsessed with every little detail.
- Though you learn about what you need to work on by watching your mistakes, I recommend watching at least 75% “highlight” videos of yourself skiing well.
- To maximize the benefits of watching World Cup footage, identify racers who are physically and technically similar to you so you can more easily incorporate their technique into your style.
- Rather than imagining yourself skiing like your favorite World Cuppers, take what they do so well technically and tactically and incorporate those into your own skiing.
Video as Mental Imagery
As you may know, I’m a huge believer in the power of mental imagery. And video, though not often thought of this way, is a powerful type of mental imagery. You can incorporate mental imagery into your use of video by including it in your video sessions. Here’s how:
- Watch a run of yourself on video identifying what you did well and where you need to improve.
- Immediately close your eyes and see and feel yourself skiing just the way you want. Ingrain the positive images and feelings from the video into your imagery.
- If you made mistakes in your video run, “rewind and edit” the video in your mind’s eye by redoing the videoed run and making the necessary corrections.
I encourage you to commit to a consistent program of video (and mental imagery) this summer. If you do, I can assure you that you will be mentally and physically better prepared to ski your fastest and achieve your ski racing goals next winter.
child developmentchildrenfear of failuremessagesparentingperfectionismself-confidenceself-esteem
I was recently interviewed by the Naples Herald (FL) on my third parenting book, Your Children are Listening: Nine Messages They Need to Hear from You.
The interview focuses on one of my most basic ideas in parenting: Your children become the messages they get the most. In other words, the messages they get from you (most powerfully), peers, other adults, and popular culture shape who the people they become, the values they adopt, and the direction their lives take.
So, it is essential that you are aware of the messages you send your children and ensure that most of the messages are positive ones. Additionally, you want to cognizant of the messages they are getting from other places and be sure that those messages support, rather than undermine, yours.
One of the booming trends in the ‘youth-achievement-industrial complex’ is computer coding camps (and after-school coding programs). Here is an article in which I was interviewed that discusses this new, and to me, troubling development.
I think this trend is driven by two unhealthy forces. First, economic uncertainty that has created immense anxiety in parents for their children’s futures. The financial upheavals of the past two decades and data showing that the current generation of children may be the first in which it will be worse off economically than their parents have left parents terrified that their children will not ‘make it’ and will move back in with them (‘boomerang kids!).
There is no doubt that many future jobs will be in the technology industry. My question is whether exposure to coding at an early age will best prepare them for the STEM world. Consider Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Marissa Mayer. They have become wildly successful and wealthy, but not because they learned how to code at a young age. Rather, they reached such lofty heights because they learned to think creatively, innovatively, and expansively. And that type of thinking won’t develop from coding. Ironically enough, it will arise from free play at an early age.
Second, we live in a hyper-achievement culture that has been driven by both the economic uncertainty that I just discussed and the rise in values such as materialism, consumption, and enough is never enough. This distorted culture has been fostered by a world dominated by financial interests (a topic best saved for another time) and the Internet which provides a conduit for those interests to be ever-present in people’s lives. No longer do we compare ourselves to our neighbors, but rather to all of the ‘haves’ of the world. This culture in which good is no longer good enough has caused parents to feel as if they must ‘keep up with the Joneses’ or they will bad parents who are setting their children up for failure.
Proponents argue that this tech-dominated world is the one in which children are growing up and, if they don’t get on the tech train early, they will be left back at the station. I, however, argue that coding has far less value at a young age than, say, good, old-fashioned play. Unless children plan to have careers in the computer sciences, coding at such a young age is not only not useful, but also costly to other more important aspects of their development.
As with most things related to technology, I think there is a place for it in children’s lives. They certainly need to learn relevant tech skills to find success as adults. But they are going to learn how to navigate the tech world simply because that is the world they are growing up in; they don’t need to go to coding camp or taking coding classes to develop those skills.
A fundamental question that has not been answered yet is: How early do children need to be exposed to technology, such as coding, for it to have a real impact on their lives? Too many answers to this question are driven by greed and fear rather than reason and evidence.
If you compare coding to other professions, this contrast stark and just plain absurd. I don’t see parents sending their children to physician camp or lawyer camp or astrophysicist camp (though there are math camps; don’t even get me started on those!) when they are eight years old. Yet children somehow grow up prepared to be successful in these professions. Shockingly (note the irony in my use of that word), specialized training doesn’t begin in these fields until college or even graduate school and somehow people gain the necessary competence to do things like brain surgery, argue in front of the Supreme Court, and travel into space without starting in elementary school.
There are many reasons for parents to be wary of early and excessive exposure to technology, but my biggest concern is perhaps the simplest: opportunity costs. Time spent in front of a screen coding is time not spent engaging in other, developmentally more important activities such as free play, interacting with other kids, running around, playing sports, learning a musical instrument, or participating in cultural activities that will be far more enriching to them in the long run.
Look, if your child develops a passion for coding at eight years old, far be it from me to tell you not to encourage that interest. At the same time, what kids are into when they’re young rarely ever becomes their life’s passion or career path. And coding at a young age is not likely to have much impact on their career choices when they grow up.
My advice to you is to step back, take a deep breath, gain some perspective, and send your children to camps that involve being outdoors, playing with other kids, swimming, sports, arts and crafts, and all the things that I (and perhaps you) did at summer camp when I was a kid. I can assure you that your children will have plenty of time when they get older to sit at a desk and stare at a computer screen. Now isn’t that a pretty grim view of the future for them.
college sportsNCAAsport psychology
I was recently interviewed by Tackling College Sports on a wide range of topics related to sport psychology. You can listen to it here (scroll to bottom)
alpine ski racingMarcel HirschermentalMikaela ShiffrinperformancePrime performancesport psychology
I’ve been in the ski racing world since I was six years old. The first 20 years, I was a racer learning the ups and downs of ski racing the hard way, mostly through trial and error, and sometimes painful failure. That, I can say with 20/20 hindsight and absolute certainty, is no way to figure out what it takes to be the best ski racer you can be. Sure, even the best racers in the world have to make a lot of mistakes and fail on the way to success. But it is a whole lot easier if you have at least some sense of what works and what doesn’t.
The last 30 years of my ski racing life have been devoted to helping ski racers (and coaches and parents) figure things out before they have problems, so when those problems arise, rather than flailing around, they have some plan for finding solutions.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over these many years in our sport, and one that many young racers don’t seem to get, is that training really does matter. Too often, I see racers pretty much wasting their time in training; all the things that are necessary for quality training just aren’t there very often. I can’t tell you how much it irritates me when I’m on the hill working with young racers and see them do things that so obviously prevent them from getting the most out of their training.
With that said, let me present to you my 5 Things I Hate to See Racers Do in Training:
- Talking to other racers just before they leave the start gate. Focus is the most important mental contributor to quality training. Yet, what do I see more often than not before racers leave the start gate of a training course? Racers chatting it up before their turn in the gate, continuing to talk while in the gate, and, amazingly enough, racers who are still talking to their pals as they leave the gate. What’s missing here? Focus, of course. They are focusing on their conversations and what is behind them. What they should be focusing on is what they are working on and what lies ahead in the course.
Tip: About two minutes before your training run, stop talking to the racers around you. Narrow your focus, do some mental imagery of your upcoming run, and focus on what you’ll be working on.
- Cruising to the first gate in training. Back when I was racing, the clock started at the starting gate; I’m pretty sure that’s still the case! But you wouldn’t know it by the way many racers approach the first few gates of a training course. I regularly see young racers ease into the course by cruising to the first gate or two before settling in and going for it. This habit of working their way into training courses is related to intensity. Ski racing is a high-energy sport that requires power, quickness, and agility, as well as an aggressive mindset. If you don’t have both intensity and aggressiveness from the moment you kick out of the start, you are losing time.
Tip: Get your intensity up (“rev your engine”) before you get into the start gate by jumping up and down. Fire your mind up with thoughts of attacking. And explode out of the training-course gate. Coaches, makes sure you have a clearly identified starting gate, ideally with two poles (and a wand would be even better), so your racers get used to leaving a start gate in training.
- Giving up without a fight in training. This is my number-one pet peeve when it comes to training. So many racers I see will get in a little trouble on course and just ski out. What a truly terrible habit to get into! If you get used to giving up at the smallest problem in training, that’s what you’re training your mind and body to do in a race. There are usually some deeper psychological issues at play here that cause racers to bail out of a course at the slightest mistake, notably perfectionism and fear of failure. But the bottom line is that when you ski out of a course, one thing happens 100 percent of the time: you lose, whether not improving in training or DNFing in a race.
Tip: Fight for your life to stay in every course. Of course, there will be some training runs where you ski out because you were on the edge skiing so fast and just couldn’t hang on. Those “ski outs” are the good kind because you were pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. Learning to never give up after a mistake will serve you well in races where even the top racers make mistakes, but get it right back and fight to the finish.
- Letting up at the last gate in training. I see so many young racers ease up at the last gate and cruise across the finish line in training. This is another habit that drives me crazy. Just like with cruising to the first gate, racers are ingraining letting up before the finish line. How often have you seen a racer having a good run and then, with only a few gates to the finish, hook a tip or make a mistake? This frustrating experience usually occurs because racers think their run is over and lose focus and intensity. But, just as the clock starts at the starting gate, it stops when racers cross the finish line, so you need to make sure that you are focused and intense all the way to the finish.
Tip: In training, always ski hard past the last gate and through the finish. Coaches, always have a finish line for your training courses so they can get used to skiing training courses all the way to the finish.
- Asking coaches to reset when the training course gets a bit rough. Young racers love to be one of the first on a newly set training course. It has “hero snow” and it’s much easier to ski well. But how often do racers race under those ideal conditions? Unless you’re in the top seed, not at all often. Yet, I constantly hear, “Hey coach, the course is too hard. When are you gonna reset?” If you are starting back in the pack when the course is chewed up, you shouldn’t even begin to run training courses until they get rough. The fact is the only way to ski well in tough race conditions is train under those conditions. By doing so, you learn what you need to do to make it down a tough course and you build confidence that can still ski well even if it is rough.
Tip: Rather than trying to be the first on the course, go at the end to simulate realistic race conditions. When the course is good and chewed up, say “Bring it on,” attack it, and ski your fastest (while realizing that it isn’t likely to be pretty or perfect). Coaches, have racers who will be in the first group in races go first and have racers who will be in the later seeds go last on training course.
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I’m pleased to announce the publication by Human Kinetics of my latest book: Dance Psychology for Artistic and Performance Excellence (co-authored with Dr. Elena Estanol). This is a follow-up to my first-ever 1995 book, Psychology of Dance, which I wrote with my late mother, Ceci Taylor.
For those not familiar with my work in dance, I have consulted and given workshops with the Miami City Ballet, Hartford Ballet Company, and DanceAspen Summer School, and have written many articles on dance. Elena is a former professional dancer and choreographer who is now a psychologist who specializes in dance.
The book explores many aspects of the psychology of dance confidence, focus, and emotions, as well as stress, injury, and disordered eating. Human Kinetics also provides an extensive online resource with additional materials.
Grand Slammentalmental edgeperformancePrime Tennispsychologysport psychologytennis
There are many things that go into developing skilled tennis players. Physical conditioning, technique, tactics, and psychology require years of constant attention for young players to become the best they can be. Yet, underlying all of the information, exercises, techniques, and strategies are some basic and essential concepts that players and coaches must understand for everything else to follow.
Concept #1: Positive Change Formula
In order for any change to occur, whether physical, technical, or mental, in the most efficient and effective fashion, players must follow a three-step formula. One, players must become aware of what they are doing incorrectly and how to correct it. Two, players must control what they want to improve. Third, players must engage in sufficient repetition to ensure that the change is ingrained and automatic.
Concept #2: Prime Tennis
A common term to describe a high level of tennis is “peak performance.” But there are problems with peak performance. First, because a peak is very narrow, there can be few great performances. Second, an inherent part of a peak is that there have to be valleys. From this perspective, peak performance is not descriptive of what athletes should strive for. The dictionary defines “prime” as: “having the highest quality or value.” Prime Tennis means players being able to play their best consistently under the most challenging conditions. Prime Tennis should be your goal with players.
Concept #3: Prime Law of Tennis Training
The purpose of training is to develop effective skills and habits. With this in mind, you should be sure that every time your players train, whether on- or off-court, they are focused on instilling physical, technical, tactical, and mental skills and habits that will enable them to play Prime Tennis.
Concept #4: Prime Law of Match Preparation
Whatever players do in training, that is what they will do in matches. Two corollaries of this law are: If players don’t do it training, they will not be able to do it in a match. And if they need to do it in matches, they must do it in training. All efforts in training are directed toward what players need to do in matches. Two key areas in which this law is most relevant is with focus and intensity. Players must practice playing at 100% focus and intensity, so when they get to the match, they are entirely accustomed to it and the focus and intensity will allow them to play Prime Tennis.
Concept #5: Mental Skills are Skills
Many people think that mental skills are something players are born with or they are not. If not, they can never develop them. But it is important for players to understand that mental skills are skills, just like technical skills, and they can be learned in the same way. Like technical skills, mental skills are acquired with the Positive Change Formula, namely, awareness, control, and repetition.
Concept #6: Prime Tennis Pyramid
The Prime Tennis Pyramid is a progression of mental skills that lead to Prime Tennis. Motivation lies at the bottom of the pyramid because without the motivation to play, there would be no interest in improvement and competition. Prime motivation ensures total preparation. From motivation and preparation comes Confidence, players’ belief in their ability to play their best. Prime confidence gives players the desire to compete. From confidence comes Intensity, players’ ability to respond positively to the pressure of competition. Prime intensity enables players’ bodies to play their best. From intensity comes Focus, the ability to focus properly before and during matches. Prime focus allows players to stay focused and avoid distractions. From this pyramid comes Prime Tennis, players’ ability to play at a consistently high level under the most challenging conditions.
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Almost every dancer has at some time in his or her career experienced the feeling of complete self-confidence. Honed, strong, and relaxed, you know you are dancing well. It is a feeling of invincibility that usually results in a great performance.
Self-confidence may be the single most important ingredient for successful performing. It enables you to extend yourself, to take risks, and reach inside yourself. It can be the difference between performing well and poorly. A distinguishing characteristic of all great dancers is that they don’t think they will dance well, they know it. Yet for most people confidence is very fragile; it is easily lost and tremendously difficult to rebuild.
Though self-confidence is an oft-used term, few people really understand what it is. Self-confidence reflects how you feel about yourself and your abilities. It determines how much effort you expend, your goals, and your expectations of success. Since people rarely exceed their expectations, the dancers’ level of self-confidence can determine how well they perform.
Dancers must regularly monitor their confidence level and be sensitive to changes. Instructors and choreographers should also be alert to this. A loss of confidence usually follows a period of unexpectedly poor dancing and results in depression, irritability and is reflected in severe self-criticism such as “I’ll probably fall” or “I just can’t dance.” These negative evaluations are disruptive both mentally and physically, hurting confidence more and causing tension that inhibits natural ability. A vicious cycle of low self-confidence results in which a poor performance causes lower confidence and on and on in a downward spiral.
There are effective means of building and maintaining self-confidence. Good training, the mastery of technique and the general feeling of competency that results will increase your confidence. The mastery of technique can then be carried over onto the artistry of the stage.
The teacher’s role in helping dancers develop and maintain a high level of confidence is essential. Because of the teacher’s knowledge and authority, dancers look to them for a pat on the back. As a result, teachers should pay particular attention to the quality of their interactions with their dancers.
The “Ballet Master” style of teaching dance is a thing of the past. Teachers who berate and embarrass their dancers will rarely improve their performance. Teachers must be sensitive to the individual psychological needs of their dancers just as they are to their physical needs, and should use feedback that fits those needs. For example, some dancers respond to positive reinforcement and react negatively to harsh criticism. Others may need pressure to motivate them. In general though, it is important for teachers to give feedback that is objective, specific, and positive.
The best known, but most underrated technique dancers may utilize to improve their self-confidence is positive thinking. I have been overwhelmed by the number of dancers who are their own worst enemies. Their behavior and attitudes are self-defeating and self-perpetuating. Positive thinking consists of always evaluating yourself positively and objectively, never thinking or making derogatory remarks about yourself.
If mistakes are made, dancers should say, `I made a mistake, now how can I correct it,’ not `I’m awful and I can’t do it.’ The former is positive and objective, the latter is negative and self-defeating.
For dancers with low self-confidence, these positive self-statements may seem alien and may not be believed at first. But with repetition and reinforcement through success and teachers’ feedback, the self-statements will be internalized and the vicious cycle of low self-confidence will be replaced by a growing spiral of high self-confidence.
To prevent the entrance of negative thoughts and to replace them with constructive ones, cue words such as `stop’ or `positive’ are helpful. These cue words help to halt the negative thoughts and refocus attention in a positive direction.
Teachers should actively combat the use of negative evaluations by punishing their use and reinforcing positive self-statements, thereby fostering a healthy, positive attitude in their dancers. With a little time and alot of effort, positive thinking and the other methods we have discussed can have dramatic effects on dancers’ self-confidence.
In conclusion, there are two points that should be remembered. First, self-confidence should be developed and nurtured prior to performance, just like technique and artistry. Second, self-confidence should be monitored continuously, and if a problem arises, it should be dealt with quickly and effectively to enable the racers to maintain their optimal performance level. Additional techniques to enhance self-confidence will be discussed in later articles.
Grand Slammentalmental edgeperformancePrime Tennispsychologysport psychologytennis
When I ask tennis coaches what is the biggest challenge and stressor in their work with young players, the almost unanimous response is PARENTS! Coaches indicate that more often than not parents interfere with rather than facilitate their coaching. This is an unfortunate situation as parents have a powerful impact on players. Considering this, it is important for coaches to do what they can to make their allies.
Why Parents Are Not Your Allies?
Though there are some strong examples to the contrary in tennis, most parents are not mean, malicious, and ill-intentioned. Most want the best for their children as players and young people. Unfortunately, many parents don’t know what is best for their children in their tennis. In other words, they are simply uneducated about how the roles they play can have a positive and negative influence on their children’s tennis experience.
Goals of Tennis Participation
The most basic thing parents need to know and accept are the primary goals that they should emphasize with their children. Specifically, their goals should be no greater than having tennis contribute to their children’s personal and social development, build their self-esteem, learn transferable life skills such as motivation, confidence, and focus, and gain a love of a lifetime sport. If young players achieve these goals, they are going to be happy and productive people. Any other goals like a college scholarship or a professional career would only be icing the cake.
Recommendations for Making Parents Your Allies
- Establish mandatory parent-coach meetings to discuss your program’s philosophy and goals. These must be consistent between the parent and coach for the young player to benefit from tennis.
- Identify specifically how parents’ behavior can help or hurt their child. For example, hugging and encouraging players whether they win or lose vs. showing negative emotions during matches.
- Identify specifically how parents’ behavior can aid or undermine your coaching. For instance, making sure players are properly equipped and on time for practice vs. coaching their child away from your practices.
- Create regular opportunities for parents to give input about their child. For example, establish office hours when parents can stop by or call. You can learn a great deal from each other to the child’s benefit.
- Provide regular written progress reports to parents about how their child is developing physically, technically, competitively, and psychologically. They have a right to know.
- Establish clear guidelines of appropriate and inappropriate behavior for parents like my Do’s and Don’t’s of Tennis Parenting
- When conflicts arise, act like an adult and treat the parents like adults. Your communications will be more amicable and productive.
- Choose the appropriate setting for a discussion with parents, for example, in your office. Never speak to parents about important issues in front of players, coaches, or other parents.
- Enlist parents within your program for advice and guidance about parent issues that arise.
- Most important of all, create and foster an atmosphere of cooperation, mutual support, and communication aimed at providing the child with the most positive tennis experience possible.
Grand Slammentalmental edgeperformancePrime Tennispsychologysport psychologytennis
One of the most widely used techniques to increase motivation among athletes is goal setting. Having players establish goals at different levels of training and competition will improve their effort and intensity. In order to ensure the value of goal setting, there are several components that must be included in a well-organized goal setting program.
Long term goals specify what the players ultimately want to achieve in their careers. Examples of long term goals include receiving a college scholarship or playing professionally. These objectives are similar to dreams because they are so far off they may seem unreachable. Due to their distance, these goals should be kept in the back of players’ minds, but not focused on often.
Seasonal goals indicate what the players want to accomplish in the coming season, such as reach a certain ranking or attain a new level of competition. These goals are important because they will dictate all subsequent goals that are set.
Competitive goals designate how players want to perform in particular tournaments during the season. Competitive goals might include a certain placing to qualify for the next tournament or players lowering their ranking to be named to a traveling team. These goals are critical because attaining them should lead to reaching their seasonal goals.
Training goals specify what players need to do in their physical, technical, and mental training that will enable them to reach their competitive goals. Training goals might involve increasing leg strength by 10%, working on down-the-line passing shots, or learning to control anxiety.
Lifestyle goals indicate what players need to do in their general lifestyle to reach the above goals, e.g., develop better sleeping habits, eating better, or being more disciplined studying.
As can be seen, these goals are incremental and progressive from the bottom to the top. In other words, the lower goals lead step-by-step to the higher goals.
In setting goals, it is important to follow several guidelines to maximize their value. First, goals should be challenging, but realistic and attainable. That is, they should be reachable, but only with hard work. Goals that are too easy or too hard have little usefulness because they will be reached without effort or are unreachable even with extreme effort, respectively.
Second, goals should be specific and concrete. For example, an ineffective goal is “I want to get stronger”, whereas a useful goal is “I want to increase my bench press 20% in the next three months”. They also should be objective, tangible, measurable, and time-limited.
Third, athletes should focus on the degree, rather than absolute attainment, of goals. Inevitably, not all goals will be reached, but there will almost always be improvement toward a goal. By emphasizing measurable improvement, changes in performance can be followed and progress can be rewarded.
Finally, goals should be examined and updated regularly. Some goals may turn out to be too easy and must be made more difficult. Other goals are too hard and must be eased. Also, goal setting is a process, there really is no end. When one goal is reached, a new higher goal should be established immediately. In addition, there does not need to be a goal for every aspect of performance all of the time. There are times when certain areas should be stressed and others should be de-emphasized.
In addition to the macro-goals described above, players can improve their motivation and the quality of their training on a daily basis by setting micro-goals. These goals specify exactly what the players want to accomplish every time they train. Coaches may assist players in developing micro-goals by simply asking them what they are working on before each training session. If the players do not know, they shouldn’t be allowed to train until they have a particular objective in mind. Micro-goals are an excellent means of helping athletes stay focused during training and increasing the quality and decreasing the quantity of training.
The role of the coach in the goal setting process is critical. Young players often do not have the experience or objectivity to set appropriate goals. Coaches can provide guidance as to the specific goals to which players should aspire, assist them in developing realistic, challenging, and measurable goals, and help them monitor their progress.