Mizzou Football Coaches’ Advice on Goals

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 10.59.01 AMMizzou Football Coaches address many topics to their players in an attempt to turn them into the best football players and young men that they can be. Football is a great microcosm of life–to succeed one needs to set goals, focus and work hard with others to accomplish them.

But, the goal part comes first. One Mizzou Football goal, as a program, is to educate on how to prevent distractions between football student-athletes and their goals. We want to give them focus and help them succeed.

You are fully focused when you have no pressures, no doubts and no expectations. Mizzou coaches educate the team that if they focus on the next step in front of them, relax and immerse themselves in the process, the results will come.

Excellence depends on having a vision and knowing where you want to go, how much you really want to get there, how strongly you believe in your ability and your ability to connect with the step in front of you.

Take this quote from former fighter pilot Chris Hadfield. He is someone who knows about focusing in high-pressure situations. The only difference is, his situations are often life or death.

“When you are flying an airplane 500 miles an hour, there are all kinds of things that don’t matter, and there are a few things that really matter,” Hadfield says. “In a high performance airplane, things happen quickly. The next half-mile or 15 seconds is all that matters. You need to completely compartmentalize and disregard things that don’t matter—bills, problems at home, etc. Even though it may be extremely important at another time, you don’t pay attention to it. You need to focus on the task at hand.

This rings true for Mizzou student-athletes, especially in the classroom, where they continue to set a positive example as high-level student-athletes nationwide.

Whether you are about to rush the quarterback or study for an exam, focus is the key. If you are sitting in a classroom or listening to someone teach, clear your mind and fully connect with what the person is saying.

If you’re working out a particular part of your body or looking for a specific result, think “quickness” or “power.” Focus on that objective and do it 10 times in a row.

Do a body scan to focus on different parts of your body. Are my calves relaxed? Focus on your shoulders and think relaxation.

How do we focus? It may sound like a dumb question, but it is really very valid. Focusing takes time, energy and patience.

Here’s what Mizzou Football recommends to its team:

–  Return to basics.

–  Reassure yourself that you are trained and are ready (i.e., tell yourself, “I’ve done this a thousand times. I am fully ready.”).

–  Remember that your goals are realistic. All you want is to perform as you are capable.

–  Remind yourself to stay in the moment. Focus on doing your job.

–  Remember that training and performing should be enjoyed. Embrace the good parts.

Long-term goals can help motivate you and guide you, but you also need lots of little daily goals that take you progressively to your desired destination. The key to setting and pursuing goals is to focus most of your energy on little steps within your control. Go for what you have the capacity to handle. Goals that require “stuff” that is beyond your control set you up for frustration and anxiety. If you set these types of goals for yourself, you will absorb yourself in pursuing them, especially the specific daily goals. These are often the most effective.

Once you—and no one else—decide that something is worth pursuing, then you need commitment, focus, a positive mindset and specific goals. Achieving a short-term goal will inspire you to pursue the next, helping to maintain commitment and build self-confidence. To help keep yourself organized, write down goals and think about tomorrow’s goals before you go to sleep or when you wake up in the morning. Explore your own potential.

Of course, progress is a series of ups and downs, and sometimes goals set clash with goals met. You might not see signs of improvement. If this is the case, do not give up. You may just be laying the groundwork for future improvement. If you fall short of a particular goal, learn from it and adjust your goal. Once again, DO NOT GIVE UP.

This is part of the path of excellence.