Thursday, July 21, 2011

Knowing Your Destination: Setting the right goals

By Jessica M. Mohler, Psy.D., CC-AASP
Clinical and Sport Psychologist
United States Naval Academy

I am sure you have experienced this before: two sailors de-rigging at the end of the day, one has a smile on his face and seems excited about how he did on the water, the other appears upset as you hear him saying to his friend he only finished fifth. Or maybe as a parent, you have had one of your children celebrate on a windy day because she sailed around the buoys without capsizing, while your other child is upset with his second place finish. The post sailing day reaction shows us that success to one child can mean failure to another depending on their goals.

Just recently I attended a post race meeting where a 10-year-old child was asked how his day was on the water. He replied, “terrible.” I sat there thinking about whether that child stated the day was terrible because he did not win or place high enough in the standings, or because he had made several mistakes and was swamped by a powerboat. I obviously hoped it was the latter.