Goal Setting For Baseball Players- Chapter 3

If you have followed the previous posts on goal setting, we have gone through the exercise of creating our three levels of goals (short, middle and long term goals). We also created a daily/weekly checklist to help us move closer to our goals…every day.

Now we have hardest task of all. Committing to these goals and putting in the work to reach them. There are millions of people around the country who pass the test of creating goals with flying colors, then fail to commit to what it takes to reach their goals.

There is never a guarantee that anyone will reach their goals, even if they do all of the right things. However, a player has no chance to reach lofty goals without commitment and sacrifice along the way. This is the most satisfying part of goal setting. Investing time, effort, and sacrifice to achieve a level of success unachievable without a lot of work.

While there a numerous strategies to get there, we have provided a few ideas to take a player from just having goals to actually reaching them.

1. Post your goals somewhere where you can see them.  Our goals drift away if we write them down and never look at them again.  Every player needs a constant reminder of their goals so  that their decisions, actions and behavior support the goals that they created.  If a player creates goals and a checklist online and stores it in a place that is never to be seen again, that player will likely lose track of those goals.  If a player uses a picture of his goals as the screensaver on his phone, he is reminded of these goals every time he looks at his phone.  If a player displays his daily checklist on a bulletin board in his room, or on the inside of a door that he uses every day, he is again constantly reminded of what he committed to with his goals.

2.  Recruit an “Accountability Partner”.  Every person needs someone to help them stay accountable to their goals.  Some players assume that their coach is that person.  Coaches often play a part in holding players accountable for their goals, but the best accountability partner is a teammate.  Find a teammate with similar goals, and hold each other accountable on a daily basis.  There is nothing more powerful than a respected friend and teammate that can be a constant reminder to do the right things and keep you on track with your goals.  Share your goals with a friend or teammate, and give them free license to challenge you when necessary to reach your goals.

3.  Change behavior to support your goals.  If you goals are important to you, you should be willing to sacrifice and invest in your goals.  Make a list of some of the unproductive activities that do not support your goals, and replace them with more productive ones.  If your typical routine after school is to (hopefully) complete your homework, and then watch TV for 1.5 hours per night, a good behavioral change to support your baseball goals would be to cut the time to 45 minutes of TV, 30 minutes of drills, and 15 minutes of reading a book on sports psychology per night.  Or, if your routine is to drink a Mountain Dew and eat Oreos for a snack after school, a good behavioral change is to substitute water and fruit (with an occasional Oreo because no-one can quit Oreos completely) to your diet for more nutrition and sustained fuel for your body.

So in summary…you have to see your goals often.  You have to have someone you respect support your goals and support you through the process of reaching your goals.  Lastly, you have to invest in your goals by changing your behavior to support your goals.

Setting goals is only 1/2 the battle.  Creating success in reaching your goals requires commitment and sacrifice on a daily basis.  Good requires average effort and commitment.  Exceptional requires exceptional effort and commitment.

Thank you for reading and hope to see you on the field this season.

Brad Woodall

Owner- Woodall Baseball Academy and Silver Sluggers
Major League Player- Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs

Goal Setting for Baseball- Chapter 2 of 3

If you read Chapter 1 of this series, you know that proper goal setting requires:

  1. Long range goals– Where you want to be at the end of the season
  2. Mid-range goals– Where you want to be at the beginning of the season or at the end of training seasons.
  3. And daily/weekly goals– Drills and any changes of behavior needed a daily basis to achieve our future goals

Our goals should be challenging, but realistic and achievable with a lot of hard work.  They should also be quantifiable so that we can track progress. Lastly, they should be controllable in that you should not have to rely on others to make these goals happen.  For example, a goal to be a better teammate is admirable, but is difficult to quantify.  A better strategy is to break this goal into components of being a good teammate.  A pre-season “Better Teammate” goal could be (1) Going to every open gym before the season, and (2) Creating an accountability group to make sure a core group of teammates is attending every open gym, with (3) Each member of the group working together to create a practice plan for each open gym.  A long range goal could be (1) To create an informal mentoring program where the older players “adopt” a younger player to help them learn at a faster rate and feel more comfortable on the team during the season.  These goals are now quantifiable in that a player can check off the list if they have (1) Created an accountability group, and (2) Mentoring program.  A daily goal would be to make sure the group is communicating at least 3 times per week (on a schedule) discussing what they will be working on in open gyms.

On to our next step.  No long term goal will work without a daily or weekly plan.

Our homework this week: Create a weekly plan, based upon your current academic and in-season sport schedule, to accomplish your daily/weekly goals.

It is always very tricky to be able to balance other current (in-season) activities with baseball, an off-season activity.  We have found an effective process to create a realistic but productive schedule for positive movement toward goals while juggling other sports, academics, and family time.

  1. Step 1:  Assess how much free time after school you actually have.  Take into account all priorities that rank above baseball training.  These include any family time or activities, in-season sports, ample time set aside for academics/homework, and adding into the schedule a consistent and early bed time.  After this exercise, you now have a good estimate of the amount of time you can schedule in training on a daily basis.  Also, be sure to build in a day off or an easy day.  Our bodies and minds need it to reenergize.  Each day will likely  be different in how much time you have available for baseball.  That is ok. At least you know what you have to work with now.
  2. Make a list of drills or activities for baseball that will take you closer to your pre-season and end of season goals.  This list can be lengthy, with any and all  drills or exercises you can think of.  This is your rough draft version that will be revised as we go through the first couple of weeks.  One quick test for each of these drills is to ask the question – Does this drill or activity help me come closer to reach one or more of my goals?
  3. Create of “Daily Grid” for the week.  Picture this in a spreadsheet or table.  Day of the week at the top of the column.  Each row is reserved for drills or exercises to go on your checklist.  Also, add to each day how much time you estimate to have for baseball training.
  4. Create a checklist for each day with any regular after school activities you have higher on your priority list than baseball training.  You can be as detailed as you would like, including time slots for the activities, color coding by priority for quick glance reference.
  5. Add your Baseball Activities to fill up your time availalble on that day.  Go through every day of the week, including assigning a Day Off in writing to make sure you are building that into your schedule.

If you go through these steps, you now have a rough draft of your daily checklist.  We have provided an example below.  Pay much more attention to the format rather than the content.  The content will be customized for every individual.

Goal Setting- Weekly Schedule Example

This exercise may take some time to think through all of the variables of drill options and time available per day.  Do not be afraid to spend ample time on this step in the process.   It is part of the success formula of goal setting.  Thinking about your goals and how you will achieve them is always a good thing.

Enjoy this process of creating your weekly schedule and checklist.  You are heading in the right direction for your baseball success….and this is good practice for effective goal setting in other aspects of your life.

Thank you for reading,

Brad Woodall

– Owner:  Woodall Baseball Academy and Silver Sluggers
– 5 year Major Leaguer (Braves, Brewers, Cubs)