Goal setting can either be a help or a hindrance, depending upon how we go about setting our intentions. An Outcome Goal makes a definitive statement about winning a race, or defeating an opponent. While these intentions can serve as great motivators in practice, they will serve as a detriment just prior to our competition. Why would I say this?
When we place the outcome of any experience in the hands of others judgment (which certainly hands them a great deal of power) or performance (we cannot control our opponent) we create anxiety and self-doubt. These feelings take our focus away from the actual task at hand. Instead of thinking only about what we can control, we’re too busy worrying about what we cannot. As soon as this happens we have automatically limited our performance before it even begins! Instead of focusing on what will get us down the pool faster, our energy goes to outside influences. Sound fun to you?
Performance Goals, as you may have already surmised, are a more advantageous strategy for the elite level competitor. Performance goals are those that help us focus only on what is within our control;
- Race strategy
- Desire/Challenge your opponent to match your intensity
By focusing on these we are better able to free our mind for a peak performance because, essentially, we don’t have to think or worry about anyone else! We can call up our strength in order to fuel our intentions. When we accomplish this challenge, we have created our “cocoon of quiet confidence.” Much like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, our mindset becomes impenetrable. Truly, strength is quiet, receptive energy. It does not brag, or yield. It simply knows. When this energy combines with focused determination we are open to anything, including the joy of competition.
So, by all means, use the other team or your opponent to help fuel your potential (by supporting you to be your best self) and motivate your team. But when crunch time comes, go within, because at this point it’s all about you!