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The Difference Between Goals & Expectations
September 27, 2019
Jenny White
Goal setting work with BSF athletes.

This week, BSF coaches and athletes did some important goal setting exercises--looking at their own personal goals, as well as their goals as a team. Not only is this a great communication tool for coaches and athletes, it's also an important way to build a team environment.

It's also a good time to talk about parental expectations and goals.

Think of goals as being process oriented. They're a way for a child to work on certain things--and they may or may not achieve that goal but often the process is the reward.

On the other hand, expectations are often confused with goals, and often tied to ability and outcomes. (You will win.) But as John O'Sullivan writes:

"When we expect them to win a game, we are expecting them to accomplish something that is not completely within their control. They may give their best effort and still lose. If a child believes that a parent’s love is tied to the expectation of winning, and he does not win, he may believe that he is less loved or valued. This creates anxiety and inhibits performance. High performers have expectations placed upon them, but only upon things that are fully within their control."

So help your kids out this season:

1) Read the blog post "Are you setting goals AND expectations for your athlete? Do you know the difference?"

2) Yes, they can dream big--Junior Nationals, Olympics. But encourage them to also focus on process.