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How Coaches Use Effort Goals To Improve Performance

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In this adaptation from PCA Founder Jim Thompson's book, The Double-Goal Coach®, he explains Effort Goals. Setting a goal for specific efforts you will make (i.e., "run hard through first base on every ground ball") leaves you in control over whether or not you achieve those goals. In contrast, using the above example, an outcome goal would be "reaching first base safely one every ground ball," which is not in the batter's control because of the external factor of the quality of fielding.

A key reason that coaches use effort goals with their players is to keep players working hard even in otherwise discouraging circumstances. For example, being thrown out at first base on five straight ground balls is failure at the outcome goal. But running out those five ground balls as hard as possible is success at the effort goal. In that way, even the lesser-skilled youth athlete can recognize some success and take the encouragement that is necessary to persist.

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