Coach Wooden described his approach this way: "There is a tendency at times to set goals that are so idealistic that they are unattainable and thus become counterproductive. Goals should be difficult, but in the realm of possibility. My goal was to step up the quality of our effort, preparation, and execution and to strive to get closer and closer to full competency without worrying about the score."
Former player, the late great Dave Meyers, described Coach Wooden's approach: "Coach Wooden never limited himself by thinking about what's possible. He focused on the "right now" and was more involved with the better than the best. Let's get better, not worried about if it makes us best."
Coach Wooden set no limit on the performance level of his teams because he knew they could always improve, and he insisted that they did. Coach and his assistants built a master calendar before any practices started for the entire pre-season. The coaches calendared when every play, defensive concept/technique or new drill would be added and how much time would be allotted. Every element of their basketball system was accounted for in their incremental goal setting.
In her book, Perfect 10 with Bill Donaldson, Coach Yoculan described her approach to goal setting:
"You must establish goals for the athlete that go beyond any achievements she has attained in the past. Setting goals is motivating for the gymnast provided you lay out the intermediate steps for achieving the ultimate goals. These must all be clearly defined. Then motivation results from the melding of the desire, determination, and effort with the vision of pride and fulfillment of achieving the goals.
Every year, one of our team goals is to win the NCA.A National Championship, but because that goal is far away from the beginning of the season, we set other specific team goals that may be even more challenging initially. In gymnastics, individual goals are just as important as team goals. They include developing new and more challenging skills and improving consistency and execution. All our goals were precisely defined, and their achievement can be measured objectively and quantitatively. Most important, we focused on goals that we can control. You motivate by helping athletes achieve their goals."
Coach Yoculan and Coach Wooden both set difficult but achievable goals. A clear precise detailed incremental plan was defined and in both cases the achievement of the defined goals was within the control of the participants. External influences would neither help nor hurt goal achievementt, thus the goals were motivating not frustrating.
What are the defined fundamentals of your goal setting process? Do they frustrate or motivate the participants?