The Coach’s Corner: The Six Questions of Goal Setting

Coach Tony DeMeo Advice for the Coaches

A note from Today we have a unique treat, this article from a highly successful college coach explains how football coaches address off-season goals with their players. This will provide an insider perspective into an area of football that fans rarely get to see up close or understand, what goes into preparation for a football team when not on the field on gamedays. 

We encourage other coaches that are interested in possibly writing guest columns providing their unique insight to please contact us. For now, here is Coach Tony Demeo!


Coach Tony DeMeo

The beginning of the new year is always a great opportunity for sitting down and setting goals for the year. As a Head Football Coach I met with every player on the team for 30 to 45 minutes to discuss their goals. This took basically the month of January to complete but it was time well invested. Most young men (and women) have never been taught the importance of setting goals or how to set them.

Not only were these meetings valuable as a teaching tool but they also gave me tremendous insight into the players’ expectations. These goal meetings were a great help in establishing relationships.

The importance of goals has been well documented over the years. Greatness and achievement don’t happen by accident. Cal Ripken didn’t accidentally set the record for the most consecutive games.  A simple rule is “you get what you set”.

Some other important tips are:

  1. Set goals in areas of your life – I use a 5 point star for five major areas – Spiritual, Family, Professional, Health and Community. Set goals in each of those five areas.
  2. Write all your goals down.  Putting your goals on paper is a sign of commitment.
  3. Never sell yourself short. If you don’t believe in yourself; you’ll never reach your potential. Think big. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “The heroic can’t be common nor can the common be heroic”. Stretch yourself. It’s better to shoot for greatness and come up short than to shoot for mediocrity and succeed.
  4. Never let an “expert” discourage you. I doubt if too many experts thought Spud Webb at five foot seven would win the NBA slam dunk contest. Few experts thought the US Hockey Team would beat The Soviets in the 1980 Winter Olympics.
  5. Take an organized logical approach to your goal-setting. Follow up your goal setting process with action. Setting goals is important but they must be followed up with immediate action.

The system we developed was a series of Six Questions that not only clearly defined the goals but also tested the attainability of the goals. At the end of the six question process your confidence in achieving the goals will increase and will be well founded.  The following is a brief overview of the Six Questions.

The first question is “What?”
What is your goal? What is it that you want to accomplish?  Make sure when you chose your goal it is very specific and something you can measure. For example make the goal to increase your bench press 25 pounds instead of just getting stronger.

The second question is “Who?”
Whose goal is it? Is it your goal? Is it your Dad’s goal for you or is it your boss’s goal? Unless it is YOUR goal, you will never take ownership of it. Without owning the goal, you probably won’t achieve it.

The third question is “Why?”
Why is it important to you to achieve this goal? The reason you want to achieve a goal is the soul of the goal. The “Why” of the goal is the propelling force behind the goal.

The fourth question is “How?”
How do you plan on achieving this goal? What’s the plan? This question gives you goal credibility. Anyone can say they want to be an All American but those that know HOW they plan on accomplishing it have a much better chance of actually achieving it. Also breaking a big goal down into bite size pieces makes it seem more likely to be attained. The plan gives you confidence that your goal can happen. The more detailed the plan, the more credibility it has. The more credibility, the more confidence you have.

The fifth question is “When?”
When will this goal be achieved? Giving your goal a deadline is providing a sense of urgency to your plan. Deadlines force you into action. Action separates goal setting from goal getting.  Anyone can put a plan together but all plans are worthless without action. Setting deadlines and benchmarks keeps your feet to the fire.

The last question is “Price?”
Are you willing to pay the price to achieve this goal? Is this goal that important to you that you are willing to pay the price to achieve it? A simple formula is: the greater the goal; the higher the price. If you are not willing to pay the price then you must start the process over again and choose a goal that you are willing to commit to. The last question is really a reality check. If you are willing to pay the price then proceed with massive action.

This is a quick synopsis of the Six Questions of Goal Setting. It’s not just about goal setting; it’s a process of goal getting.

Coaching is about much more than just gamedays (photo courtesy: Kevin Clark/The Register Guard)

If you are interested in a more detailed and expansive version of this system; I have a limited amount of DVDs available that explains this process in detail.
You can find out more about Coach Tony Demeo and his insider football perspective, please visit his website at

New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

During the off-season the publishing schedule will consist of articles on Mondays and Tuesdays. Do keep checking as new articles could be published during the week when a writer has something to say.

In mid-August of 2024, we will go back to the seven-days-a-week of articles during the football season as we did in the football season of 2023.

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