In my experience, one of the most trendy items to cover in the preseason is the topic of goals. I do not know the percentage of coaches that ask their players and teams to set them, but I would venture to say goal setting is one of the strongest correlated variables in sports preparation. Some come up with goals the right way, while for others, creating realistic challenges is quite a conundrum.
Sport psychology literature warrants that goal setting is a very effective performance technique, particularly when goals are specific, measurable, reachable, and process oriented. Many people, though, do not know how to lay out the laws, nor stick with them, throughout the course of a lengthy season -- even a drawn-out week. More often than not, I have worked with an athlete who attempted (or was forced) to write down his goals, submit them to his coach, and then forgot what he wrote because he never saw the list again. Or it was not reflected on or reviewed in a structured manner. Sound familiar to anyone?
Goals are good. They help to motivate. They can keep one focused. They influence one's confidence -- hopefully in a good way. They may even be good for team building if discussed, criticized, and reworked among peers, coaches, or teammates.
And if they are personal but can still aid the team in its overall philosophy, then being able to construct goals is a true asset -- even a talent. Muss cited Andrew Bynum's goal to get 20 and 10 each game this season. Nice, though Coach Jackson doesn't believe the 20 can happen within his system. I wonder if Phil told his young big his thoughts or if Bynum had to read about them as we did? And I wonder if the budding star explained to his coach why he thought he was going to average an astounding double-double? Did he actually plan his outcome goals with performance goals this past summer? Was there time to pre-meditate before presenting a potentially enlightening moment to his philosophical coach? Hoopscoach reports Michael Curry sacrificed free time to stay in prime shape and work on his game consistently in order to prove to himself and others that he deserved what he dreamed. I hope Bynum put in the mental and physical work, too.
A player and a coach can talk the talk. But each has to write the talk (and have support provided along the way). At the very least, structure the talk that leads to the walk... otherwise, the goals are empty -- as the hoops will be without any follow through.