It wasn’t hard for Faith Lutheran High softball coach John Chilman to come up with a new offseason goal when the season ended in May. His Las Vegas-based Crusaders lost a pair of lopsided games at the NIAA Division I-A State Tournament to teams from the Northern Region.
“We knew we were the best team in the South, but we were unsure going against (Northern teams),” Chilman said. “We finished third. We have to match their intensity and their power.”
Goal No. 1 for the offseason: Get the Crusaders to increase their power through a summer weightlifting program.
“We need to get bigger, faster, stronger,” Chilman said. “We saw the way last season unfolded.”
Setting goals is nothing new for Chilman and the Crusaders. The program is built on goals — for the season, for each game, for induvial players and for each day of practice.
Those goals — which are listed out at the beginning of the year and reviewed at the end — make it easy for Chilman to analyze his team’s success and strengths.
The coaching staff puts together a list of goals for the season. Chilman said they don’t change much from season to season because the program is striving to remain a top program in the area.
The goals include:
Daily strive for excellence
Set measurable goals
Chilman sets these performance goals based on stats from previous years.
Average less than 1 error/game. Last year: 2.86
Score four runs or more. Last year: 7.8
Allow three runs or less. Last year: 3.3
At least one extra base hit/game. Last year: 39 out of 43 games
At least one stolen base/game. Last year: 33 out of 43 games
Chilman usually waits until the end of the year to update his team on these goals.
“At times we’ll mention it (during the season) if it’s a big deal,” Chilman said. “Any highlight goal that we reached, I’ll touch on at the (end-of-year) banquet. Any goal we failed miserably on, I’ll touch on at the beginning of the next year.”
Be ready to run when practice starts
Encourage at least one teammate every day
Approach each activity as if it were a game situation
In addition to the team goals that cover nearly every day of the season, Chilman asks the players to make individual goals for practices and games.
The players are asked to write down three individual goals for the season. They are also encouraged to write down one to three individual goals for each game and each practice.
The coaching staff gives the players journals to help encourage them to keep up this goal-setting practice throughout the season.
“Not all follow through (with the journaling), but I believe it is very beneficial for those that do,” Chilman said.
Chilman said the journals give his players not only a place to write down and track goals, but also to write down thoughts and frustrations during the season.
The players who participate in the journaling can see the progress they’ve made by looking back at their entries.
“When you’re trying to fine tune a good player into a great player, it’s harder to see the results,” Chilman said. “(The journals) help them to see the progress they might not see with a blind eye.”
A lot of the individual goals are based on offensive statistics, and Chilman is fine with his players striving for certain stats as long as they are consistent with the team goal.
“I have no problem with this as long as their individual goals do not conflict with our team goals, and I believe it is one of my main jobs as head coach to make sure individual goals do not become a priority over team goals,” he said.
Chilman covers the team goals at the end of the season and uses those as the base for the next season’s goals.
The coaching staff also has player meetings to go over their individual goals.
Were they realistic? Were they measurable? Did the players achieve them? Why or why not? Too hard? Too easy? Those questions then help form a player’s individual goals for the upcoming year.
By setting and tracking goals, Chilman can see where his team and individual players have been and what they need to do to improve.