Sports Psychology I — GOALS:
“I really want to win, but I never do.”

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Live the Life you Desire

Seth Stisher, Pro Slalom Skier & Coach:

What do you want to accomplish with practice? Ask yourself why you do your sport? You must start first with an overall objective in order to decide what specific goals will get you there. Also remember it is not always about the destination, but also about the journey.

Water skiing, for example, is a sport where you have no ability to affect your competitors’ performance to any high degree. For this reason, it is important to keep your goals and objectives focused around things you have control over.

It is also important to state goals that will yield other goals. For example, “I want to make sure I take focused practice sets where I am prepared before I go out on the water.” This goal helps with your next goal of learning to run the course by the end of the season or learning to run that next tough pass in the slalom course.


To set a goal, you need to be clear about what it will accomplish for you in your life. If your goal is limited to proving to yourself or others that you are adequate or superior, then you’re likely to be frustrated, unhappy, and miss out on other types of enjoyment.

Do you practice your sport for the exercise or the adventure and camaraderie in a beautiful environment? For the challenge of improving your results in competition? Or for the sense of accomplishment after hard work and practice? For the occasional timeless feeling of being in the zone? Or for the enjoyment of the physical feeling of a clean move or the thrill of speed?

The more reasons you have for pursuing a sport the better. If you have a competitive goal, whether it’s going for a world record or your personal best, enjoying the many other facets of a sport helps buoy you in times of challenge and defeat.

by Alison Poulsen, Phd, and

Seth Stisher, Pro Slalom Skier and Coach
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Read “Sports Psychology: I’m terrible at this sport. I can never get it right.”

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3 thoughts on “Sports Psychology I — GOALS:
“I really want to win, but I never do.”

  1. Pingback: Changing Exercise Habits: “I never exercise the way I should.” | Healthy Relationships and Solutions to Happiness and Love © 2011

  2. Caitlin

    I like many sports & was most intrigued with the idea of many goals. A great idea to focus first on one’s goals instead of mindlessly practicing or playing a sport!

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