Home / Insights / 7 Steps For Successful Goal Setting In Football + FREE GOAL SETTING WORKSHOP

By Adam Streeter | Goal Setting | January 11, 2024

7 Steps For Successful Goal Setting In Football + FREE GOAL SETTING WORKSHOP

Goal setting is a commonly embraced technique within sportbusiness and performance settings by researchers, practitioners, athletes, and coaches and goal setting in football is no different.


In this article, we dive into how to set goals like the pros, why it is so important and how it can genuinely take your game to the next level!!


Within the article we also have links to our FREE FOOTBALL GOAL SETTING VIDEO MASTERCLASS, so look out for that and check it out! It is normally £99 but we are giving it away for free if you’ve seen this article!


We have seen the excellent success of professional, amateur and youth players setting goals over both the long and short term, dramatically improving their focusdrivedetermination & ultimately their football performance.

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So why is goal setting in football so important?



Locke and Latham (2002) have proven that goals can enhance performance which happens in four main ways.


  1. Setting goals directs effort and attention towards goal-related activities, and away from irrelevant activities. This essentially means more focus on what is important and fewer distractions. This means as a player you can learn smarter & harder for accelerated gains in your football.

  2. Goals can energise an individual within a task and even more so with more challenging goals than easier goals. This means if you set yourself goals which are hard to achieve you are more likely to be energised to complete them. This makes sense, there is a reason why people want to climb Mount Everest.

  3. Goals impact determination. Once you have set your goal and it means something to you, the goal can be the driver to ensure you keep working hard to achieve it.

  4. Goals impact action & intent. This final way of goals enhancing performance means that once you set your goal it positively impacts the likelihood of you actually taking action, and when you do take action to deliver at the highest level.



Hopefully, it is now clear that goal setting in football can improve your game and enhance your performance. And hopefully, we have convinced you it should be right at the forefront of your mind when wanting to improve and develop as a footballer.

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What the best footballers in the game say about goal setting



We have found that goal setting in football is often overlooked by the lower league, amateur or youth players. But if the top players In the game are anything to go by, we should all be setting goals in football. See what Rio Ferdinand has to say below.

Rio Ferdinand: Goal Setting In Football

“Some people might think it’s obvious, but a goal is there to inspire you to keep on improving. So when you have the moments in training where you’re thinking ‘I really can’t be bothered to this today’ you remember those targets that you’ve set yourself.

“I always feel if you haven’t got a target to aim for, a goal to aim for, you are just blowing in the wind, you can lose focus.”

Rio Ferdinand
On goal setting in football


Do you have a road map of how you are going to achieve your goals and ambitions?


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Successful Goal Setting in football: The Professional Guide


Effective performance planning is important to drive the right behaviours from yourself and set yourself up to achieve long-term inspirational goals.


The majority of athletes often set big goals but don’t know what they need to do to achieve them.


Effective performance planning is setting those inspirational outcome goals but importantly developing a roadmap of performance and process goals that will help you achieve that big outcome.  



For example, if your goal is to play in the Premier League, what do you need to work on?

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As a striker, it could be working on your speed, or ability to score headed goals. These are the key performance areas that you need to work on to achieve your goal. Now attach a measure or target to your performance goals to show your progress. 


After knowing the areas you need to work on, break them into process goals, (the daytoday tasks that will help you achieve the performance goal). 


Outcome goal –> Performance Goals –> Process Goals

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The step-by-step guide to successful goal setting in football

  1. Establish an inspirational outcome goal – What ultimately do you want to achieve?

  2. Identify the key motivators to your bigger outcome goal to help you stay motivated on the course (i.e WHY do you want to achieve it? Make family proud, Forefil your potential, Money, Fame?)

  3. Think hard about the areas you need to improve on to make that happen (be specific, i.e improve the number of headed goals or goal assists per season or month)

  4. Write down the areas that you need to work on & attach a measurable outcome to it (these are your performance goals) – For example, to score more headed goals I need to improve my speed.

  5. Make it a specific and measurable goal it should be something like ‘I need to improve my speed by 0.1 of a second in 3 months for example.

  6. To make it into a process goal consider all the things that will help you achieve your performance goal. So in this example, we need to get 0.1 seconds faster in 3 months. Therefore my process goals are likely to be something like A.) Complete 3 lower body strength sessions per week B.) Complete 3 Speed Sessions per Week C.) Work on my footballer’s diet consistently for the next 3 months.

  7. Work your process goals into your daily routine and stay disciplined


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We have put together the below downloadable goal setting in football pdf, to help you map out your road map for your future success by filling in all the boxes with your

Outcome goals

Performance goals

Process goals.

goal setting in football
Goal Setting in Football: Goal setting for athletes’ worksheet


What is a good example of goal setting in sports?

A good example of goal setting in sports could be:
Outcome goal: I would like to play in the premier league to make myself and my family proud.

Performance goal: In order to play in the premier league I need to improve my ability at headed goals. I want to score 3 headed goals this season.

Process Goal: In order to score 3 headed goals, I need to improve my jump height and speed. Therefore my process goals are; 1. Complete x3 strength and power workouts per week. 2. Complete x2 Speed sessions per week. 3. Complete x4 technical heading sessions for 10 minutes per week.


In the video below Matt Sheldon (professional MLS player) also does a brilliant job below showing his process of goal setting in football below and we think this is an excellent example of goal setting in sports. Use our above PDF to help map out your goals.

How a professional football player sets goals


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Goal setting framework


If you would like to be walked through the goal setting in the football process that we use with the professional players we work with, download episode one of our free psychology masterclass here. We have given this first episode away for free to get your goals nailed and ready for the upcoming season.


Types of goal setting in sport

As we have described above there are 3 types of goal setting in sports these are Process Goals, Performance Goals and Outcome Goals.

  • Process goals are completely controllable by the individual. They are specific actions which make up part of a bigger goal.
  • Performance goals are somewhat controllable. They are the key things you want to improve upon which will help you achieve your big outcome goal.
  • Outcome goals are usually your big dream. It is what you want to achieve. Outcome goals are often difficult to control because of many other factors that could influence the outcome. This could be as simple as winning a game or the league or even bigger and inspiring, such as inspiring other young footballers.


Goal setting coach



If you are looking for more help with your goal-setting in football and perhaps looking for a goal-setting coach please check out our Psychology masterclass package here.


Within this program, we break down the biggest areas of sports psychology and package them into 7 HD videos and 7 Worksheets to help improve and develop the mental side of your game.




Frequently asked questions about goal setting in football

What are the benefits of goal setting in sport?

1. Setting goals directs effort and attention.
2. Goals can energise an individual within a task
3. Goals impact determination.
4. Goals impact action & intent.

What are the different types of goals in sports setting?

Outcome, Performance and Process

What is the main purpose of goal setting for athletes?

Goal setting in sports helps direct the effort and attention of athletes. It helps increase energy and motivation within a task related to the goal. It increases determination and increases the likelihood of athletes taking action.

What is a good example of goal setting in sports?

A good example of goal setting in sports could be.
Outcome goal: I would like to play in the premier league to make myself and my family proud.
Performance goal: In order to play in the premier league I need to improve my ability at headed goals. I want to score 3 headed goals this season.
Process Goal: In order to score 3 headed goals, I need to improve my jump height and speed. Therefore my process goals are; 1. Complete x3 strength and power workouts per week. 2. Complete x2 Speed sessions per week. 3. Complete x4 technical heading sessions for 10 minutes per week.

Goal Setting in football summary action points

We hope you have enjoyed this article on goal setting in football. We have hopefully made a complicated process into an easy actionable and insightful article to help your football development. Here are the summary points from the article.

  • To nail your goal setting in football have a measurable outcome goal that you must be able to know when you have achieved it or not. The goal needs to be the driving force to what you’re trying to achieve.
  • Identify 5-7 key performance areas that will help you achieve the outcome goal. They should be critical areas that you need to develop to achieve the outcome goal. There’s no point in having 50 performance goals. Focus on what will really make the difference to your performance and ensure your time is being spent on the right things.
  • Attach measures to the performance areas to know when you have achieved them.
  • List process goals for each performance goal and make them your daily routine. 
  • Identify the key motivators to your bigger outcome goal to help you stay motivated on the course.



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