Does Your Athlete Know the #1 Secret to Achieve Sports Goals?

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” —Pablo Picasso

Learning to set goals is a life-skill that most young athletes experience. Thanks to focused coaches, ambitious parents, and competitive friends the language of goal-setting is usually very familiar to kids involved in sports.

However, deciding upon a goal is the EASY part, and unfortunately, it often ends there.

Even those athletes that write out a plan, fail to achieve their goals because they miss one crucial step — measurement of their progress.

Here are 2 aspects of measuring progress that is critical to the realization of a goal.

1) Pay Attention to Lead Indicators

Also known as lead measures, key indicators, and metrics, lead indicators are any kind of “drivers” for accomplishing a goal.

In other words, they are the micro-habits that take you down the road to success.

Without evaluating them, you have no idea what works and what doesn’t in reaching your target. It quickly turns into an exercise of wishful thinking rather than striving to accomplish something.

For example, suppose your athlete announces that he wants to earn a baseball scholarship.

The lead indicators to pay attention to for this goal might involve:

  • Batting average per season
  • Fielding percentage (errors)
  • Slugging percentage
  • On-base percentage

What gets measured, gets improved and so it is vital to evaluate RELEVANT activities.

What do you think would be appropriate lead indicators to keep an eye on when trying to lose 10 pounds?

They might include:

  • Calories consumed
  • Calories burned
  • Adequate sleep
  • Appropriate fluid intake
  • Healthy fiber in your diet

In both examples, the lead indicators are measurable and relevant to accomplishing the desired goal.

2) Tweak To Improve Progress 

Once you have determined what is working and what is not — by looking at your lead indicators — you can tweak your approach.

Often, minor adjustments or tweaks to the original plan are what leads to favorable outcomes.

What does that look like specifically?

In the baseball scholarship scenario that could be:

  • Spending an extra 10 minutes a day on catching, if fielding percentages are down
  • Adding extra time in the batting cage if your on-base percentage is low
  • Getting a tutor if your GPA is marginal

For losing 10 pounds, you might have to tweak your:

  • Late-night snacking, if you tend to overeat when you are tired
  • Approach to snacking by cutting back on sugar-laden treats
  • View of rest if you regularly skimp on sleep

Be creative as you help your athlete look at making small changes. Keep the steps small enough that it almost seems too easy. Make it a no-brainer to accomplish.

Summing It Up

Encourage your kids to set goals and then teach them the secret to achieving them.

Help them to determine the lead indicators for their specific ambition. And then choose effective tweaks to apply to their process.

 “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Robert Collier

Sport Family Coach at

Founder of Growing Champions for Life, David helps sports parents and coaches incorporate positivity and persistence into their communication with the young athletes who count on their encouragement and guidance. An eight-time national water skiing champion, five-time national record holder in water ski jumping, former World Championship U.S. Water Ski Team coach, and proud professional sports parent, he understands first-hand the challenges and rewards of competition. His extensive experience as a corporate leadership coach for Nextel, Sprint, Allstate, Balfour Beatty, The Villages and other companies provides David with unique insight into the skills needed to excel in sports, business and life. He brings an athlete's discipline, a coach's inspiration, and a parent's practical experience to his mission to grow not just champion young athletes, but holistically well-rounded individuals equipped for lifelong excellence.

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