Focus seems to be the central theme across the three chapters of goal mapping, attentional focus, and self-confidence. It is essential to attain many of the concepts that Vealey lays out throughout the three chapters.
Vealey (2005) shows that by effectively using goal mapping an athlete can achieve their team goals and well as their individual goals. Goal mapping helps provide a certain plan of direction that encompasses strategies to focus on goals and utilizes life skills such as planning, setting, evaluating, and resetting different goals (Vealey, 2005). Using goal mapping also allows athletes set personal standards that they can accept and achieve for themselves as opposed to society's standards. When doing goal mapping it is important to focus on what types of goals want to be achieved, whether it be outcome, performance, process, long-term, or short-term goals. It is best to keep an athlete's goals balanced so that they do not have all long-term goals because short-term goals are equally as important if not more. To create relevant, clear goals the Vealey (2005) suggests the Specific, Measureable, Aggressive yet Achievable, and Relevant (SMAART) goal mapping strategy should be applied with time constrictions. Combining all of these strategies into Vealey's (2005) four steps of goal mapping, identify your purpose, plan and develop your goal map, act with purpose, and refresh your goal map with focus on the process of getting to a goal, not the final outcome an athlete should be set up with tools they need to succeed in their goals.
Everything in chapter eight on goal mapping cannot be possible if the athlete's attention is not properly focused. The athlete need to learn how keep their attentional focus in all types of situations. This is why it is import for a coach to systematically overload the athlete in practice to teach them what is important to focus on (selectivity) and what is not (i.e. things the athlete cannot control). Focus is like a technical skill, it needs to be practiced before it becomes second nature. Vealey (2005) states that athletes need to engage in repetitive physical training to automate their skills to withstand pressures and distractions. Aids that help an athlete's attentional focus during competition are developing a pre-performance routine, a focus plan, and mental skills training in the face of distractions, setbacks and obstacles.
Focus can affect an athlete's self-confidence. According to Vealey (2005) an athlete's strongest source of confidence is their prior performance or achievement success. Without an athlete's focus for attaining their goals and having attentional focus in a completion their prior performances will most likely lead to poor self-confidence. Though if a person concentrates on strategies, technical and mental skills, and their preparation, all things within their control according to Vealey (2005) it will more likely translate to stronger levels of confidence. It is important as a coach to give athletes the skills to develop sources of confidence like feedback/encouragement, preparation, and self-regulation. Without every individual on a team having confidence in their abilities in sport, the team's confidence can suffer.
Vealey, R. S. (2005). Coaching for the inner edge. Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology.