I have chosen I would like to see the term “assessment” in sport to be changed to “goal setting preparation”.  If i’m not on the ballot, then write me in!  The term assessment has such a negative stigma to many, especially youth athletes.  Young athletes are often simultaneously in the classroom studying and being “assessed” and “tested” and studying to succeed in these evaluations.  When athletes come out to the field, and are then “assessed” and “tested” out here, it is drying up the passion and purpose behind sport and their involvement in the activities.  I believe this also happens because assessments in sport are typically followed up with “placement”, whether it be starting positions, groupings for teams, groupings for activities and skill building, which are all important and need to happen for coaches to do their jobs and for  the game to go on!  However, why not follow up any type of assessment up goal setting, and use the results of an assessment as material to set goals around.

If coaches and consultants alike implement goal setting, specifically process oriented goals, right after the conclusion of an athletic test or assessment, it becomes natural that the initial product of assessment isn’t selection.  This goal setting piece then acts as a “deferrer” of immediate anxiety that could be felt by an athlete following the assessment.  Just as in psychology research, we expose subjects to stimuli, then an intermediate stimuli before we ask for recall of the fore given stimulus. This also, in a round-about-way encompasses the positive coaching method of providing criticism, the sandwich approach, positive-negative-positive.

Additionally, in pairing assessment and goal setting, it can instil this process in young athletes to carry out into their lives, truly developing a life long skill.  In the classroom, they may receive a test back, look at their B- and becoming extremely disappointed (or relishing in their success), and instead of this being the final impact this “assessment” has, they can prompt themselves to set goals, or analyze for themselves what went well, what didn’t and feel they have the ability to gain something from the experience.

So there is my stance.  And remember, “Goal Setting Preparation”, not “Assessment” for 2012!