As an elite hockey player and a high school junior, I always have to consider how and why, when it comes to goal setting. My primary goal is to commit to and play at a Division 1 college in the United States. Unlike players in the Canadian Hockey League, a college prospect needs to balance goals on the ice while more importantly balancing them in the classroom. It takes an extreme amount of commitment and desire to achieve the requirements of collegiate athletics, thus goal setting plays a large role in a Division 1 prospect.
Having set realistic goals for myself as a young student-athlete I believe that everyone choosing to take the Division 1 route needs to set high but obtainable goals for themselves. Giving yourself a goal that you know isn’t realistic will not benefit you in the future rather it will make you frustrated when you don’t obtain it. I am a strong believer in keeping the bigger picture in the back of your mind while having small stepping stone-type goals in the foreground. I tend to focus on things such as my next practice, game or shift. Personally I believe that focusing strictly on the bigger picture can overwhelm athletes causing them to tense up in game situations although this is personal belief.
Goal setting has to be the first thing you think about when you wake up and the last thing you think about before you go to bed. Not setting goals for yourself puts you in a position that I like to call “lost”. Imagine yourself travelling abroad in a foreign country with no indication of direction. You have no cellphone reception, no map and you are stranded in a desert. What are you at this point? You’re lost! This goes hand in hand with goal setting. Not giving yourself the opportunity to set goals puts you in a stranded situation. Ask yourself this; Where do you want to be as an athlete? Why? How will you do this? Is this goal obtainable? Are Mom and Dad pushing me to do this? These are questions I ask myself to give my mind a baseline of where I want to be as a hockey player.
Personally I believe that setting realistic goals will impact you in a positive manner. The only way setting goals can hurt you is one, if you don’t make them obtainable and two, if you don’t work your tail off everyday to make them a reality. I can assure that focusing on what you know you can do and how you can do it will make you a better person and student-athlete. Ever onward….