Tactical Pointers

What to Keep in Mind When
Setting Goals

Sonja Benčina & Živa Dvoršak

Jan 1, 2021

Goal-setting is a common practice among athletes. Writing down your dreams might sound like a straightforward task; however, it is far from being so. Realistic or sky-is-the-limit, goals are often outcome-oriented; their focus is on a score or on winning the competition. Instead, they should centre on the process of executing a shot that has a potential of bringing you closer to winning the competition. And why is that? Anyone would agree that you cannot control or predict what exact score will win a competition. You cannot control what it will take to win a competition and what others will do. The only thing you can control is the process. Focusing on the process of performing well and letting the score happen is what maximizes the chances of winning a competition

Two Shooting Notes shooting diaries showing the Goals chapter and a goal setting diagram.

Process-Oriented Goals

Let’s see why this would be a better strategy. Your process is something that can be really clearly defined, set up, and described – and anything that can be defined can be repeated! Things you have control over are how many days a week you train, you what is the discipline of your efforts, what you choose to think about and do, which competitions you enter, and how you choose to prepare for them. You can control who your teachers are and the training system you use. Your success is determined by how well you can control what is in front of you in the present moment and not by worrying about the outcome. So, keep your focus on you, keep your focus on the present shot, and envision (visualise) how the technical moves of a good shot follow each other; see them in your mind, feel them with your whole body.

Find Your Why

Keeping your focus on scores and winning competitions, on the other hand, will only take you further away from achieving them. The score, the colour of the medal, the placing on the scoreboard determine the winner. Yes, this is a clearly defined outcome by which the outside world will measure us for, giving us (or not) better resources and favourable conditions for the future. Yes, these are all important outcomes to be achieved. Unfortunately, chasing them is not very sustainable in the long run. You’ll get tired fast without clearly knowing why you do it. And this why must really come from us (not from our parents, not from our coaches, not from our friends). It is our why to every what we achieve. And this is something accomplishment doesn’t measure. It doesn’t measure that state of being that comes with it. The feeling of being successful. The pursuit of this feeling is what wakes us up every day, what makes us spend long hours at the shooting range, while our peers are hanging out. Being successful shows who you have become! It shows the knowledge and experience you’ve reached as a competitor. And that is why it is important to set goals for what you want to accomplish and who you wish to become in the process. If, for example, your goal is not to panic when the Range Officer shouts their scary Match firing…start, and you manage to keep a cool head – savour this moment! This is your small victory, you are a successful shooter!

Follow-Up

And when you step down from the shooting line carry those feelings of success with you. Share them with your coach, tell your friends – write them down in your Shooting Notes. Your copy comes equipped with a special chapter dedicated to setting goals. Ask your coach to help you set realistic ones for yourself, concentrating not only on results but on processes that you want to make better. And then carefully monitor your progress in following these set goals by writing about them in your Shooting Notes after each practice and competition. Chase those feelings of being successful!

Two girls writing into their copy of Shooting Notes and setting goals.

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