“I hear a lot of parents, coaches, and teachers talk about all the pressures that young people are facing today, and there seems to be a reaction in the other direction- as if setting goals might put someone in the position to fail. But I think it’s important for young people to learn to reach a little and to learn to deal with disappointment when they don’t achieve a goal.”
The Way of Tenacity: Setting Goals
This time of year our Tenacity staff is finalizing plans for the next year’s programs and services, and we hit the pavement giving presentations all over the regions where we operate. Next week alone, we will be in Oakland, Lafayette, Folsom, and Atherton, California as well as Kingwood, Texas. We will be talking all about how we are evolving as an organization, and I think this is so key for each of us as coaches, players, and human beings in order to thrive both on and off the field.
At a very young age my dad taught me about setting goals, and we had these words determination and motivation in our Sherry household vocabulary. He used to say these were things he learned when he started boxing- which was at 19 years old- and his trainer at the Police Athletic League gym in San Francisco guided him in this. In a few short years, my dad was a world class Amateur boxer, winning a Golden Glove in San Francisco, and an AAU National Championship in 1975. He didn’t go from “Zero to Hero” though, and in fact, my mom said she watched him get knocked out cold on their first date (strange choice for a date!). The point is, my dad set goals, followed a game plan, and was consistent in his pursuit of those goals every day. And he got up when he was knocked down, time and again.
It was really important for me to learn about setting goals at a young age, and by that I don’t mean the childhood fantasies of becoming a singer or President of the United States… A goal at 8 years old was to be able to run to the mailbox and back, which was a distance of about two blocks down the street from our row house in Baltimore, Maryland.
Our Tenacity girls do goal setting at a couple points throughout the year, and I love hearing what some of these are when they share at practice. It is neat to recognize when a girl is focused on something really specific… or when another one talks about playing lacrosse in college in 7 years… or when another girl is focused on process goals rather than outcomes- those are impressive!
I hear a lot of parents, coaches, and teachers talk about all the pressures that young people are facing today, and there seems to be a reaction in the other direction- as if setting goals might put someone in the position to fail. But I think it’s important for young people to learn to reach a little and to learn to deal with disappointment when they don’t achieve a goal. It wouldn’t have been a terrible thing to walk to the mailbox and back, and later, there were penalty kicks missed, missed layups, national championships lost… and then won.
The Tenacity Project is constantly evolving because we are constantly setting new goals for what we want to do with, and for, our girls and families. One of the most crucial pieces is the mindset our coaches have about finding new drills, new ways to teach fundamental skills, and new ways to provide feedback to players.
Tenacity Principle #1 is “Setting Goals,” and I hope our girls do this over and over in life, and I hope they fail because they’ve pushed themselves…and succeed because they’ve failed. Get up when you get knocked out… and run to that mailbox!
Written By: Theresa Sherry
December 1st, 2016