Goal setting is a process that the world’s best wrestlers learn and implement to achieve a top level of performance. It’s a powerful mental training technique that will have a profound impact on your wrestling as well as your growth as a person. Goal setting, essentially, is creating a plan: A plan to achieve a long term, “ultimate goal” by using short-term goals as a plan of action in order to get there. Much can be said about the process of setting goals, and there are many techniques and theories that can be applied when creating a list of goals. This guide is an introduction to setting wrestling goals, as well as an outline for how to go about setting and achieving your own unique goals.


When you first begin to think about your goals, you must decide on a few long-term goals that you would like to achieve. A long-term goal is something that can be accomplished over the course of a wrestling season or longer, as in multiple years or seasons. It’s common to set performance-oriented long-term goals because most wrestlers dream of winning a championship months or years in advance.

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.”

Les Brown
Motivational Speaker

This famous quote is commonly associated with goal setting because it illustrates the idea that athletes must have high levels of confidence and expectation in order to achieve their dreams. On this note, make sure the goals you decide upon are ambitious, yet realistic.

One of the most important keys to goal setting is aiming high, but at the same time maintaining a realistic perspective of your potential. It is especially important for beginners to understand that smaller goals must be accomplished before the larger ones. For example, if you are struggling to make the varsity squad at your school, the first goal you should set is to become a varsity starter and competitive in your weight division. A state or national championship may find its way onto your list of goals as you improve and experience success.

Lastly, you don’t want to set your goals too low that achieving them can be done effortlessly, without pushing yourself. Many individuals set their goals low in fear of failure. Be realistic, but also have confidence in your abilities and believe in yourself no matter what others may say or think.


Short and long-term goals go hand in hand because without a long-term goal in mind, there is little purpose for short-term goals, and vice versa. Work to adjust your daily routine by establishing short-term goals in order to achieve goals that are further off in the distance.

Short-term goals are measurable goals you can achieve on a daily or weekly basis. Most short-term goals are based on technique, or are related to strength and conditioning. These are important because they help you stay focused and on-track to achieving your long-term goals. The key to setting short-term goals is making them measurable, or specific enough that you can clearly identify whether the goal has been met.

For example, say you set a goal in the beginning of the season that you want to increase your stamina in the third period. To achieve this, you’re going to need to set several goals on a short-term basis that you’re able to track and for which you can stay accountable. For this scenario, an effective goal to start with is to run at least three miles, three times a week. You can easily track your progress and decide whether you have adequately met this goal. Depending on further goals, you can challenge yourself by setting a specific time limit to beat when running the three miles, or by adding to the distance or number of runs per week.

If you set concrete goals for which clear results can be evaluated, you will be able to accurately gauge your progress along the way.

Once You’re Set

Once you’ve completed a series of short and long-term goals, it is important to put your list of individual goals in a place where you can see them every day. The adage is true: “Out of sight, out of mind.” If your goals aren’t literally in your face every day, you will be less inclined to actually pursue them.

Many wrestlers tend to post goals on a mirror in their room. Other common places include: in a locker, on the fridge, or even on the desktop of your computer. Wherever you choose to post your goals, make sure it is a place where you’ll see them multiple times every day.

Be creative with how you choose to format and post your goals. Some wrestlers choose to just post a simple list of their goals. Others write down more specific goals, such as “Eat healthy to maintain weight and feel good” in order to get them to focus on a specific task at hand. Only you know what is going to motivate you the best.

Lastly, make sure you update your list of goals. Cross off your daily workouts as you complete them, or make notes on how much weight or how many particular sets you did for strength & conditioning workouts. Don’t be afraid to adjust your list of goals in order keep them relevant and beneficial.

Know Yourself

The only way to achieve your goals is to believe in yourself and commit to your plan, giving it 100 percent of your effort. There’s no shame in falling short of a goal as long as you did everything in your power to make it happen.

Another important aspect of goal setting is gradually making these goals more challenging. You should never be satisfied with your goals: Raise the bar as you improve so you can achieve more challenging goals.

Keep in mind that the only person who knows your own true potential is you. Sure, you can ask coaches and trainers what they think of your abilities and potential, but only you can make it happen! Be prepared to prove others wrong along the way to achieving your dreams.

Darkhorse Wrestling Staff
Link to: Goal Setting Worksheet