Jason Stewart can be reached through his website at www.ProUniversity.net or by email at Coach@ProUniversity.net

By Jason Stewart

Whether or not you are a competitive athlete, you probably have goals. If you call yourself a competitive athlete and you don’t have goals, then most people would question whether or not you are competitive.

Developing goals allows us to live a life of purpose daily. People love inspiring quotes because they provides hope. Hope and belief in the attainment of anything we deem worthy usually proves inspirational. Developing and identifying goals help you to make a tangible mark to strive for. We only have so much time and energy on Earth. We all have the ability to make a mark no matter how big or small. As an athlete, you should have short-term and long-term goals. This may or may not include your short-term and long-term goals for your entire life.

Short-term goals are awesome. They are the small things that add up to the giant dream that you want to achieve. Short-term goals are like small puzzle pieces. You may not always get them on your first try, but you keep trying and over time you’ll create a beautiful scene.

Short-term goals in basketball vary. I used to have daily goals when I was a teen-age athlete. “I’m going to find the most competitive pickup game within my reach today and try and dominate the court regardless of who is on my team. I will not lose.” Then I would have goals within that goal. “I will defend the leading scorer on the other team and I will not let my man get any rebounds.” I really didn’t even want him to touch the ball. These types of goals often made me work very hard considering that I sought after the most competitive games in my neighborhood or any neighborhood I visited.

Another example of a short-term goal could pertain to your off-season training. You should have achievement goals pertaining to your vertical jump, speed and quickness. You should also have goals as to how many pounds you want to gain or lose. If you want to improve your shot, then you should be shooting 2,000-3,000 shots a week. If you want to be a better ball handler, then you should never let days go by without touching the ball.

Just playing every day with the guys you’re comfortable with is only going to make you as good as them. Now look at them and ask yourself if their daily life activities are heading them in a direction that is going to help you reach your personal goals.

Long-term goals can have different lengths. For someone who is not an athlete, you may put together a three- or five-year plan that is connected to a 10-year plan that is connected to a plan that is overarching your entire life. As you can see, “long term” is a debatable phrase. How ever you make your determination, let’s move on. What will the sum of all your short-term goals look like?

As a basketball player, a long-term goal could easily equate to a seasonal goal. An example of a season goal may be to make the all-star team or defensive player of the year. Perhaps you want to set a goal to be the leading rebounder of the league. Notice that these seasonal goals are compared to a larger field of people than just the guys on your team. You must have a vision for something larger if you desire to be great!

I believe that it goes without saying that every year you want to win a championship. Learning how to work with teammates to attain goals can be complex, and we don’t have enough space or time for that right now.

If you do have goals, but they are only in your mind or your heart, then you need to write them down. Writing things down and speaking things out have a certain POWER to them. Something about writing and speaking make goals more concrete and more likely to occur.

I’ll never forget an exercise that my middle school teacher made us do in class. She asked us to write down our career goals on a piece of paper. We had to write down three goals. I remember those three things I wrote down. I have done some form of all three. Remember to be specific.

Post your goals on your walls at home or somewhere you are sure to see them when you wake up in the morning. When I was in high school, I had posters of Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in my bedroom. My mother put inspiring quotes on my MJ poster. I still have it! Shortly after the posters were hung, trophies began to accumulate in my room. Having a daily vision of the greatest inspired me to stay focused and make good decisions.