The Art of Goal Setting: A Tale of Doing Sport Psychology in Professional Football

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The presence of sport psychologists in football is still a recent occurrence and has come about thanks to the improved education received by the coaching staff. However, sport psychology in football is still viewed upon with skepticism, as problem solving. One of the most common psychological strategies is goal setting. Nowadays it is hard to imagine clubs or players who do not use such strategies. In general, the correct application of goal setting principles provides a strong foundation for designing a goalsetting program. Nevertheless, there is a difference between the “science” of setting goals, and the ability of the sport psychologist practicing the “art” and process of setting goals. This case study involved four professional football players, from a team in the highest league in Denmark. We collected data through questionnaires, interviews and observations during a year. The results shows, that the “art” of goal setting is a dynamic, ever changing, complex phenomenon, the method itself has to be flexible, in order to search for new knowledge in a goal setting process in sport psychology consulting underlining that the individual sessions and success is socially constructed and created between sport psychologist and player.

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