Goal setting. Most of us have heard of the phrase. Some of us even know what it really means. And yet, even though it’s one of the most powerful tools in our lives, so few of us actually use it.

Most people think of goals on or around January 1st. “I’ll go on a diet and lose 20lbs because I want to look better.” It’s not enough. At best, for most of us, this is just a mere wish. There’s a smattering of intent, but no real desire to make this a “must do” in the forthcoming year.

If you think you’re doing better, then I’m delighted to hear it. I’ll estimate that 90% of us don’t have any goals for 2010. Out of the remaining 10%, only 3% will have them written down.

Successful people, including sportspeople, have their goals written down.They understand the power of goals and make sure they have lots of them for the year. They also make sure their goals are big enough so that they can look back at the end of the year with a huge sense of achievement.

This doesn’t mean that they will have succeeded at everything, but the majority of their goals will have been realised and the result of this is success in many areas of their lives.

So How Do You Create Badminton Related Goals?

First of all, you need to recognise there are two types of goals that sportspeople need to have.

1) Outcome goals – these are results in tournaments, matches where a desired result is required.

2) Performance goals – these are critical “performance related” goals and therefore are solely focussed on your skills and skill improvement. Hopefully, your ability to improve your badminton skill will result in you achieving your outcome goals.

Sportspeople need both types of goals to drive them forwards. A classic example of this is told by former World and Olympic medallist Kriss Akabusi. Kriss tells the story of his last Olympic final when he was favourite to win gold.

As you can expect, his outcome goal was to win the gold medal. However, in the final, despite his best efforts, Kriss won the bronze medal. Whilst he was disappointed not to win a gold medal in this final, he actually ran his personal best time. From a performance goal perspective, he had won the gold medal. He could not ask anymore from himself than a personal best time. To achieve this in an Olympic final, with all the tension, is a truly outstanding performance.

So, whilst Kriss came away from the games with a bronze medal, and had not achieved his outcome goal, he had performed to his very best and knew he could not ask more of himself. The gold and silver medallists also ran personal bests to win their medals, so fete played its part on the day in deciding the medal winners and order.

Without performance goals, you cannot train correctly in order to achieve your outcome goals. It’s almost like planning a holiday. You know the end destination, but you have no idea how you’re going to get there.

Start With the End in Mind

This is exactly what you need to do in order to ensure you set the correct goals.

So, what outcome goals do you want to achieve in 2010?

What skills must you either attain, or significantly improve on, in order to give you the best chance of achieving your outcome goals?

How do you rate your skills in these key areas now? If you were to be put under pressure and have to play/use these key skills, how many out of 10 returns would you expect to achieve?

In other words, if you know what skills you need to improve on, you’ve got to rate them in order to provide yourself with a starting point. You then need to use this measuring system in order to monitor your performance consistently.

Once you’ve done this, you need to work out your training program on a monthly, weekly, daily basis to achieve your desired performance goals. Make sure you also map out a monitoring system that tells you whether you are on target or not.

Now get training and watch your results frequently. Make sure you are logging your results religiously in order to achieve your desired outcome. If you find you are missing key targets along the way, recruit the help of a coach or number of coaches if you’re that serious, to get you back on track.


I’ve covered this topic very quickly as I recognise it will not appeal to everyone. But, it really does apply to every standard of player if you really are serious in improving your skills.

Please, don’t be a dreamer and think that you can turn up at club every week, and somehow, as if by magic, you are going to significantly improve – I’m sorry to disappoint, but it just doesn’t happen.

Improving skill requires hours of repetition, trying to play the perfect shot with perfect technique.

As the saying goes, you get out what you put in. Playing games will not significantly improve your skill. Working on key skills will improve your skill.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Why not send me your comments, or email me your goals for the year if you’d like me to comment further or help you set performance targets and/or training timetables.

To your success in 2010.