Goal Setting in Football

goal setting in youth football

A valuable tool that we use at Alliance Football Club, Dubai is to encourage all football players to use goal setting. Here’s how it works and why it is important.

Goal setting is used to identify what you want to achieve in your football journey, and the steps you will take in order to move closer to, and accomplish, that goal. Introducing this process into the lives of young football players will enhance concentration, give them a focus, and also boost their confidence when achieving success along the way to completing their main goal. This also encourages them to grow when failure occurs, and the goal setting process renews, in order to re-focus and find another way to get to their end objective. 

Goals can also be categorised in many ways. They are also tailored towards each individual in a different way because, as we know, everyone has different needs in order to develop and grow. Being specific with our targets is essential in ensuring all people involved are clear about what it is that is trying to be achieved. We don’t want to make the goals too complicated that the player, parents and coaches aren’t sure themselves about what it is that we are trying to reach together. Measuring targets is important to make sure you can track progress and reassess along the way. The targets being set should be achievable and realistic – this is vital in order to ensure players are progressing within their capabilities. And lastly, adding time scales to goal setting allows for a clearer focus and a target to aim towards in order to try and achieve within a specific time frame.

goal setting in youth football

At Alliance FC, we will look at short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. A short-term goal may be something a player wants to achieve within one week. Here at Alliance Football Club, we work on one-week topics, to encourage focus and allow time for development within that specific phase of the game. Therefore, a player who is working on defending outnumbered, may set themselves a short-term target to learn the basics of defending outnumbered, and use what they have learned when playing a competitive match. To ensure this goal is met, the player will firstly decide what their end goal is, and then with the coach they will work together during the week to try and achieve that goal together. It is important to measure the short-term goals, so that the player has a sense of achievement when the goal is successful, but if it isn’t, it is also important to reflect and discuss why it wasn’t achieved, and what could be done differently next time.  

A medium-term goal at Alliance could be something that the player wants to achieve within the space of a Term. Our terms are 10-12 weeks long, so this gives the player and their support system plenty of time to focus, and dedicate enough time in order to work towards achieving their medium-term goal. Along the way, it is natural for the player to face many highs and lows, there will be times where they are seeing success and positive steps towards reaching their final target, but there will also be times where the challenge is too difficult and a step back needs to be taken. This goal-setting process doesn’t work in isolation. It works on the pitch and off the pitch, with many different people. Within the medium-term goal, there will be short-term goals set along the way for a more systematic approach in achieving the medium-term goal. Without taking small steps along the way, the goal will seem unachievable, and out of reach. But applying these simple steps, makes the goal seem achievable, and allows the player to visualise themselves, week-by-week getting closer to their goal. 

A long-term goal, is the longest duration goal you will create and set. At Alliance FC, this may be a season-long goal that you are passionate about achieving before the new season. Similar to the medium-term goal, smaller goals will be set in order to measure where the player is up to and whether they are on track to achieving their long-term goal. In addition to this, here at Alliance FC, we have now introduced Player Evaluation Meetings, where in the future, these will be valuable in discussing player targets and goals, and ensuring we are supporting them in every aspect of their life in order to achieve their goals. This creates a safe-space for players to discuss their individual needs, and highlight things they want to improve and succeed in. Without these player evaluation meetings, we wouldn’t know what the player wants to strive towards, and we wouldn’t know how they are personally feeling towards their own development. Also, these allow for the long-term goals to be readdressed, and discussed in depth in order to re-focus players and remind them of what they are working towards. 

Alliance Football Club values the wants and needs of each individual. We recognise a player’s perception may be different to ours, or their parents, and that is why we put them at the forefront of everything we do. In allowing honest conversations, and supporting them in their goal setting, both short-term, medium-term and long-term, shows the commitment we are willing to give to them over a long duration of time, but also encourages the players to be committed to the process too. If a player is able to reflect on their own ability and discuss their next steps, this creates forward-thinking people, who like to be challenged, in order to grow and learn. 

Learn more about our innovative training methodology and techniques at: https://alliancefootballclub.com/philosophy-methodology-values/

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