Goal Setting

Written by David Sapolis

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When I take on the responsibility of training a player, I like to go out to dinner and sit down and develop some short term, mid term and long term goals . For me to effectively work with any player, this is vital. If I am to help you get where you want to go, we both need to identify where you are now, where you want to go, and how you plan on getting there. That way we will both be on the same sheet of music. We will then be able to look at avenues of attack, all which will be designed in getting you moving towards the top level of pool. Do I believe that you can do it? That's not important. YOU have to believe that you can do it. As an instructor, if I don’t believe that you have the desire, the talent, and the determination to get where you want to go, I‘ll be honest with you and tell you. It's up to you to make your dream and accomplished fact in your mind. To do this, you need to have clear and concise, achievable goals. For homework, it is suggested that you do the following:

Come up with Three (3) short term goals, with the most important one at the top as described below :

(example only)

Short term 1 - Win Local 9 ball tournament

Short term 2 - Defeat player X in tournament X

Short term 3 - Improve my stroke from X to X

This is designed to do #3 first, then move on to number 2, and when that is accomplished (and only when it is accomplished) we move up the ladder to the next short term goal. Place time limits on the goals as well. This is very important. All short term goals should have a time limit of less than 3 - 6 months. We then look at our mid term goals, which have a time period of 6 months to one year. We then have our long term goals which are 1- 3 years. After we complete all of our short term goals, our mid term goals will become our short term goals, and our long term become our mid term goals. Before long, your long term goals of playing on the pro tour will be a short term goal. That is why DEVELOPING properly is very important. I don't want you to get up there and feel as if you have been thrown to the wolves. I want you to be prepared. Ultra-prepared. So come up with three short term, mid term and Long term goals. That is your homework. Also, for each goal, I want you to write a few pages about what price you would pay if you did not achieve that goal. After you do that, I want you write a few pages about what you would gain by achieving that goal. Do this for each goal. When you have done that, I want you to write a short action plan on how you plan to achieve each goal. The more specific you are in this area, the easier it will be to get out there and tackle the objective. Be clear, be specific. If you are vague in your approach, your efforts will come off as being half-assed, and to quote Fast Eddie Felson "If you go into this thing half-assed it won't be good for anybody, take the plunge Vincent...."

Also, something that is very important..... Keep a copy of these goals where you can see them every day. Don’t write them in a notebook and forget about them. Write about achieving them every day. Keep a notebook, a journal that chronicles your progress every single day. Being the best does not happen by accident. It's hard work. Work hard at it. The best way to keep your dreams alive and string is to keep them in front of you. Have those goals hanging on your bathroom mirror. They should be the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think about at night. Keep them as your highest priority. When you get together with your coach/instructor, you can look at the goals and devise a plan of attack, and work towards getting them off the ground....but don’t wait for me or anyone else to jump start your motivation. Your goals should be challenging, yet realistic.

Start achieving some short term goals now. I cannot design your goals, they are yours. Goals are dreams with a deadline. They are your goals, not mine. My goal as an instructor is simple, and that is to train you to reach your true full potential as a player. That's not easy either. It will be lots of work. You're going to hit bumps in the road and you will get discouraged. Most that will be self imposed, and it is my job to keep you motivated and keep you focused on the ultimate prize. Now be good and go do your homework.

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About The Author: Blackjack David Sapolis played professional pool for 20 years in The United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

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