Coaches’ Corner: All Goals Are Not The Same

Focusing on the right goals for your team is critical for success.

Alex Snyder is the definition of mentally tough. Photo: Christina Schmidt —

This article is part of the Coaches’ Corner series from UMass coaches Tiina Booth and Russell Wallack. See every article in the series here.

I used to dread faculty meetings. They sucked the life out of me and made me question my chosen vocation. Every month. One of the benefits about retiring in 2010 was that during my last year I no longer had to attend them. I was allowed to skip out of school for practice while my colleagues trudged dispiritedly toward the cafeteria. They knew that impossible mandates, non-productive discussion, and miniscule progress awaited them.

Do not recreate this scenario in your team meetings. Make them few and far between. Spend some time preparing and your players will not dread them. Some suggestions:

1. Have everyone sit in a circle. Move players to break up clumps of friends. Move the cool kids in the back up front.

2. Have an agenda. Write it on the board, kind of like what you see on SportsCenter with a topic list on the left. Allow a certain amount of time for discussion, find some kind of resolution, and then move on. Always include a time for questions.

3. Design your agenda so you do the most boring logistics first and end with the most fun. If you hand out new uniforms at the beginning of a meeting, you will never get them back.

4. Do not allow one or two players to dominate the airspace. If you have an unhealthy team culture, this is what will most likely happen. Meetings can often reveal problems on the team before you notice them on the field.

5. Keep to a time schedule. If you tell them you will be done by eight, they should be walking out the door by eight. This shows that you respect their other time commitments and that you expect them to respect yours.

Goal-setting should be one of your first topics of discussion with your entire team. Again, this is not going to be a free-for-all with captains imposing their own personal visions on the team and others crossing their arms across their chests. I find it easiest to divide this topic into two types of goals: outcome goals and process goals.

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  1. Tiina Booth
    Tiina Booth

    Tiina Booth is the director of the National Ultimate Training Camp and a co-coach of the University of Massachusetts men. She founded the Amherst Invitational in 1992 and co-founded Junior Nationals in 1998. In 2006, she published a book about ultimate with Michael Baccarini, entitled Essential Ultimate. She has coached teams to numerous national and international titles. Her ongoing passion is sports psychology, and she offers clinics to coaches of ultimate and other sports. Tiina will be inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame at USAU Club Nationals in October of 2018.

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