Saying and Doing

Saying and Doing

By Jonathan Bint

Spending your time planning how you are going to improve always seems like a sensible investment of time to me. I can preach about the merits of setting goals all day long. In fact scrolling down my list of posts I notice that I’ve previously written about how very few players actually ‘do’ goal setting well and how a player who’s desperate to improve should look wider than just swing changes when looking to move their game forward.

In this post I want to focus on how you go beyond being a just a ‘sayer’ to actually getting things done; converting big thinking into small doing. I’d like to make a bet that the majority of the elite sportsmen/ women that have been able to turn their talent into lasting professional careers have this ability in spades.

The following may come as a surprise. Simply making a statement about what you plan to do, what your aims and goals are, can make you feel good. It’s worth repeating: Making a plan, regardless of whether you achieve it or not, can make you feel good; a positive affect. Similarly, the positive interaction you often get when you tell someone your goal(s) is (sometimes) an additional reward. “That sounds terrific; you’re going to be the next Rory McIlroy, excellent well done you for setting your goals so high, I’m very proud”. Sometimes this sort of interaction is even encouraged (without any follow-up) by parents and coaches alike. This is potentially a huge problem for the (almost) high achievers. It encourages a lot of saying and not a lot of doing.

The good feeling and excitement generated by stating your aims and goals can be so great that actually doing what it takes to achieve them (often on your own and mixed in with a few struggles along the way) becomes, at best, ho hum in comparison. “This is too hard – I want to feel good so I’ll make another plan”.

What can you do about this? Be sure that what you set out to do has enough meaning for you and only you. It’s your internal motivation that will be the bedrock in any achievement. Take satisfaction in keeping some of your goals to yourself rather than broadcasting to the world (this goes against conventional goal setting research). When you picture yourself achieving what you want to achieve, picture what it will take (day in, day out) and what you might have to overcome along the way.

If you are reading this as a coach remember to save your enthusiasm towards the player for the small steps along the way to achieving their goals. Some of the best coaches I’ve seen help players take small steps forward; they are encouraging about a player’s long term goals and at the same time careful to keep the player’s feet very much on the ground. They keep the player focused on task. As a friend of mine always reminds me, the process of improvement is not rocket science. True, but it doesn’t happen by saying or planning alone.


S2 Tip

Making a plan, regardless of whether you achieve it or not, can make you feel good; and have a positive affect on your outlook towards future endeavors.


Success Story

Congratulations to San Diego State sophomore Gunn Yang who won the 114th U.S. Amateur Championship! He beat former Kent State golfer Corey Conners in 35 holes with a 2 hole advantage at Atlanta Athletic Club in Johns Creek, Georgia. As the 776th ranked amateur in the world, Yang becomes the lowest-ranked winner in U.S. Amateur Championship history!


In Another’s Words

Don’t think of yourself as breakable, rather adaptable and not afraid of the change you’ll encounter along the way.

– Unknown