The Goal Isn’t Always The Goal

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Published on: December 16th, 2020
Updated on: August 15th, 2021
This article is in categories: Articles | Short Articles

If you are like me, goals usually mean reaching a specific amount in a set amount of time. In other words, a goal should follow the SMART mnemonic–Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. We love expressing our objectives in this fashion. How many of us start the year by saying we will lose so much weight by summer or make so much for the year? And how many of us fail year after year? What happens when the summer arrives, and we still weigh the same? Nothing! That’s right! Nothing happens, except, maybe, a little guilt. If you ask me, SMART goals are mostly worthless. They’re too focused on an outcome and not a behavior to be beneficial.

I have flirted with this concept of SMART goals being worthless for a few years now. It’s easy to do when you fail time and time again, and nothing happens. The days continue, and the objectives remain the same. The only thing to do is plug away, get on with it, and keep working towards the goal. In other words, perform the necessary actions, behavior that will eventually get you to your number.

Since I have started coaching basketball, I have realized this more than ever. Obviously the goal of basketball is to win. Or, is it? It is to the casual fan, but coaches and players understand that a lot more goes into a game than simply scoring more points than your opponent. There are small parts of the game that has to be controlled, such as turnovers and rebounds, that lead to a win. For a fan the score might be the goal, but for a coach it is shot attempts, free throw attempts, turn over differential, and a host of other small aspects of the game that lead to the score. 

As a junior varsity coach, the goal is far from a score of the game. A coaches goal at the JV level is player development inside of the team. It is to prepare each individual player for the varsity team. Some players need to work on shooting or post moves whle others need to work on movement inside of the offensive set. Others, especially younger players, need to work on every aspect of the game. This can be confusing to fans when they are watching a lead disappear or a team struggle to advance the ball up the court. Sometimes it is challenging for coaches as well, but we know taking the lumps today will hopefully lead to success tomorrow. 

So, when you are thinking about goals, remember sometimes the goal isn’t the goal. It is about the small things that lead to accomplishment. 

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I'm a has-been high school athlete who now enjoys CrossFit, baseball, and other athletic activities. As a profession, I design software, and I create the majority of I.M.s content. I do it for the fun of it, but I hope it helps others pursue fitness.

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