Chris Petersen is most likely arriving at the University of Washington football complex right about now. Going into his 3rd season as the Huskies head coach, Coach Pete, as he’d fondly known, has been working on the Huskies goals since the end of the 2015 season.
Although 3 years, several hundred miles and a few million dollars away from Boise StateUniversity, where he became the Chris Petersen we know today, the same grind doesn’t stop.
Coach Pete was as much an intellectual as a football coach. As a 18-22 year old man, it’s probably more challenging to understand and grasp that. I sure didn’t. But during my 5 years under Pete’s tutelage, I learned more about life and growth than football, and we learned A LOT of football.
Don’t get me wrong. You don’t go 50-3 over 4 years of playing without being focused on football. But what Coach Pete shared was more than X’s and O’s. One of my favorite and lasting impressions from my time with Coach Pete was his view on goals. Goals were written around the facility, the locker room, the weight room. There were team goals, position specific goals, individual goals, in-season goals, off season goals, even goals that changed each week depending on opponent.
“Our goal is to win the WAC Championship and a Bowl game with class, integrity, and academic excellence.”
We were tested on it. In team meetings someone would get called to stand up and asked to repeat our goals. You better know them.
At first it was a little intimidating. That’s a lot of accomplishment to wrap your head around, especially for a walk on WR from Meridian, ID who had never one more than 6 games in a season in high school. WAC Championships and Fiesta Bowl games seemed like a tall order. Until you hear Pete break it down and explain what Goals should be.
During fall camp (the month long practice schedule before the start of the regular season) players and coaches put in serious football hours. Early mornings lasting into late nights, lots of scheming and film corrections, but there’s still only so much football you can do in a day. Pete knew this and always tried to add important life lessons. From guest speakers to team building activities, you would learn something else besides football.
The first time I heard Coach Pete talk about goals, and specifically, our goals and what they meant to Boise State and the team I changed my views. Before BSU, my goals were general ideas of the direction I wanted to go. Get faster, get all A’s for the semester, earn a starting spot in a game. And Pete showed us how far off we all were.
Goals are much more than the general area of desired direction. Goals are the driving force behind your actions. They are your WHY’s and the very goal itself should contain your what’s, how’s and when’s as well. As Pete called them, goals should be SMART.
S. Specific = an exact detail for the goal. Ex. Run a 4.4o, 40. Earn starting L3 position on kick off. Bring my letter grade from B to A in Spanish.
M. Measurable = goals must be measurable to track progress and outline steps. Ex. I started off running a 4.52 last spring, by tracking my 40 every other week I can see progress.
A. Achievable = give yourself a chance and don’t set yourself up for failure. If you’re a C student, don’t set your goal to be on the Dean’s list. Set goals that you can achieve and adjust goals from there.
R. Realistic = be truthful with yourself. Add 200 lbs to every lift while gaining muscle and dropping body fat isn’t realistic. But adding 30 lbs to your Hang Clean max over the 6 week summer conditioning phase is very realistic.
T. Time bound = Set a limit. Goals must be bound with a timing element. That could be dependent on the nature of the goal, but the action items to achieve said goal, must have fixed, time specific benchmarks.
From the moment I heard the rules, I was hooked. These few rules changed the way I looked at my life and what I could accomplish. This understanding help me see that goals weren’t just for writing on the walls and self talk, but actual step-by-step personal instructions to achieve your dreams.
Let’s be honest, this all sounds easy right? Wrong. Coach Pete would have us do exercises to practice setting goals. We would take our goals and write them out and he would review them with us. At first, it looked like your 3rd grade teacher went crazy with a red pen to your first essay.
“What steps? From when to when? Can you do that? Which exercises will you do?”
This was the kind of feedback we would get on our Goal sheets. It was frustrating at first. I remember thinking, who cares how I get there as long as I do? You should care. They’re your goals and you should care about how you achieve them.
We all have the power to change our lives and create whatever life we desire. If you’re willing to put in the effort and stay the course, you can do anything. Goals should reflect your ultimate dreams and visions for your life. It’s ok to have wild dreams that you wish to fulfill, as long as you have SMART goals and plan to get there.
If you’re struggling or needing a fresh start in some way, take a look at your goals. Are they SMART? If not, take a few minutes and set new goals. It might just be the refresher you need to get back on track.