Setting Goals to Challenge You
Why do some soccer players plateau after working so hard and improving so much?
One of the reasons for soccer players plateauing is the “just happy to be here” phenomenon.
The “just happy to be here” phenomenon is similar to the concept of “resting on your laurels.”
You are so satisfied with some achievement that you no longer put in the effort to take your game further.
For example, your dream was to be promoted from your high school JV team to the Varsity team. You worked hard in JV practices demonstrating your ball skills, fighting for every loose ball and pushing yourself during conditioning drills.
Every practice you stood out and your coaches noticed. You were moved up to the Varsity Squad. You were ecstatic. You worked hard to achieve your goal. You were happy to be there.
You were satisfied with your accomplishment so you no longer put forth the same effort you did on the JV team. You no longer battled for playing time. Your goal was achieved!
When you no longer have a goal, your motivation will wither, and you will plateau.
Taking your game to an even higher level requires you to set new goals.
When you set new goals, you will be motivated to work hard in practice to get more playing time.
When you set new goals, you will be motivated to develop mental and physical skills so you can contribute to the success of your team.
When you set new goals, you will improve your confidence inside and outside of your sport.
Case in point, Tierna Davidson is preparing to take her game to the next level after graduating from Stanford University and becoming pro.
Davidson was drafted first overall at the 2019 NWSL College Draft by the Chicago Red Stars and was the youngest member of 2019 FIFA USWNT World Cup World Cup squad.
Davidson is highly motivated to take her game to the next level and lead the USWNT into the future.
DAVIDSON: “Something that I learned pretty quickly is getting called up to the national team is not a moment where you should say, ‘Oh, I finally made it.’ That’s just the beginning. It is important that, once you get to that level, you relish in your accomplishment of being called up. But then it’s, ‘What’s next? How can I improve? How can I make myself better? How can I make my teammates better? How can I contribute to the team?’ And that’s constantly asking yourself those questions and looking for places to get better. Which is, I think, what our team does incredibly well.”
As you can see, Davidson reaching an objective is not the endpoint but a stepping-stone to take the game even further.
To maintain your momentum and take your game to another level, keep challenging yourself with new goals.
Tip for Avoiding the Plateau Effect
Goals should always be fluid. Next level performance is a process where you build upon your goals. When you reach a goal, set another goal that is slightly more challenging.
Goal setting is a mental skill that keeps you focused on maximizing your potential.
Be sure to focus on daily goal-getting strategies to stay motivated after you set your short-term goals.
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