The purpose of the present investigation was to determine the effects of a specific goal-setting program on physical performance over the course of a competitive athletic season. Subjects were 24 members of an NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse team who were matched on ability and playing position and then randomly assigned to either a goal-setting or do-your-best control group. The experimenter met with each athlete at the beginning of the season to provide goals, as well as during the season to reevaluate the goals, if necessary. Performance was measured on offensive assists, offensive ground balls, defensive ground balls, and defensive clears. Manipulation checks revealed that players accepted their goals, felt their goals were realistic, and tried hard to reach their goals. Although statistical tests indicated no significant performance differences, the magnitude, direction, and consistency of the differences in favor of the goal group offers some support for the effectiveness of specific goals across an athletic season.
R. Weinberg is with the Dept. of Physical Education, Health, and Sport Studies at Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056. T. Stitcher is with the Dept. of Physical Education at Salisbury State University, Salisbury, MD 21801. P. Richardson is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, and Recreation at the University of North Texas, Denton, TX 76203.