Team Motivation Tip #3- Set realistic and changing goals

This is our third in a series of four articles on Team Motivation: Set realistic and changing goals


When trying to motivate a team, it’s important to give the players some incentives and goals.  Goals will help to unlock that extra energy, motivation, and harder play.  

It’s important to provide a path to motivation for them and to show clear and concise ways that they can player harder, hustle more, and get more fired up to play for your team.

Begin by setting realistic goals for your team and players.  Before a season, practice, or game, there is always a time to set goals.  Instead of just “play harder” or “hustle more” or “be more active”, set tangible goals that can be measured.  

Have a number attached so you can measure the progress or lack of progress.  Players can relate to objective statistics.  You can motivate a both players individually, and the team by using objective goals.  It’s exciting for players and teams to strive for and achieve their goals.

f you feel like your team is slogging through practice, you can use goals to energize the practice.  In basketball this could be a certain amount of shots made in a drill, or how many stops a defense can get in a drill, or how many loose balls players can get to.  

When pitting your team against each other for goal-oriented activities, you can often see their more competitive and motivated sides come out.  Playing against familiar teammates can inspire the will to win even more.

It’s important to keep goals active and changing.  You could have a board with different goals in the locker room, and update constantly for your team practices.  This is also a great way to motivate players who might have less game opportunities.  In practice, they could strive for the most steals or most rebounds, which may be something they might never have a chance to do in a game.

Changing goals is important too.  When something gets boring, it’s no longer motivating.  Having fundamental goals that are part of the team’s philosophy should always be mainstays.  

However, having shifting focuses based upon the time of the season or the different opponents is important, too.  Shift the goals to different focus areas and make sure everyone is involved.  Goals should not be designed just for specific players.  


You can set goals for things other than winning.  Did your team beat a team in a specific quarter?  Maybe you’re playing a much more talented team.  Your team goal can be to outscore them in at least one quarter? Or, try to get more rebounds in the second half?  

Helping players find value when winning isn’t regularly happening is one of the hardest parts of coaching.  Valuable goals will create excitement and elation.  Players will have fun and fight hard for to reach those goals.  Players often need to feel success to feel validated in what they are doing.

Creating excellent goals will be motivating them to play hard and work at their sport.