Made a New Year’s resolution? Here’s a Brandeis coach’s advice on meeting goals

Brandeis Judges tennis coach Ben Lamanna has some advice on how to keep your New Year's resolutions in 2019.

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One of the last things most people did in 2018 was make New Year’s resolutions for 2019.

Whether it’s related to curbing bad habits, increasing productivity, trying a new experience or finding more time to enjoy life, most resolutions take form in goals.

And what better way to learn about proper goal setting than to consult a professional?

Brandeis Judges men’s and women’s tennis coach Ben Lamanna has made an art out of teaching his players proper goal setting. Lamanna, now in his 14th year as the Judges’ tennis coach, has turned his teams into some of the fiercest in the NCAA. He's guided multiple players to become All-Americans and some of the most decorated student-athletes in Brandeis history.

BrandeisNOW caught up with Coach Lamanna to learn his techniques for setting goals and keeping up with New Year’s resolutions.

Ben Lamanna

Judges coach Ben Lamanna

How do you ask your players to craft their goals throughout the season and off-season?

Lamanna: It's crucial to hone in on effort and process-related goals rather than results-based goals, because we can’t always control the results but we can always control the choices we make. From my top players over the years, I've heard a lot of "I want to win x or y," like an NCAA title. That’s something we all should strive for, but we all need to understand how to get there.

How do you know if you’ve even set a good goal?

Lamanna: A good goal is centered around something that you truly care about and will maintain interest in; you will feel confident that the goal you set is something that can be attained. The goal should be specific, measurable and attainable.

What are your thoughts on using New Year’s as a time to craft resolutions?

Lamanna: I do appreciate the sense of renewal at New Year’s, but many resolutions fall by the wayside.

I try to reflect and take stock on my performance throughout the year and, when it makes sense, to choose the proper times to use goals to refocus my purpose.  

I also try to set a positive example for my players by goal setting myself and sticking with it through ups and downs. I share with my students that many of my goals are to serve their student-athlete experience, on both team and individual levels. Together, we build a strong culture by effectively communicating, building confidence and being unfazed by adversity.

What's a good way to keep checking in on your goal to make sure you stick with it?

Lamanna: It's important to schedule it into your daily routine. You need to force yourself to do things, to sometimes make sacrifices, and to receive feedback from others who can hold you accountable for your goals.

I aim to discuss goals routinely with student-athletes, both in group settings and in private. It’s important to keep checking in on goals, feeling good about the progress we’ve made, and pushing onward.

What role has tennis played in helping your current and former players succeed off the court?

Lamanna: I believe that succeeding in sports, especially in a team environment, is an immensely rewarding experience and the lessons learned can be related to all areas of life.

I’ve personally seen the lessons from competition, self-improvement and team sports transform my student-athletes in powerful ways. It’s cool to see my student-athletes’ interpersonal skills, confidence and ability to perform under pressure improve during and after their time at Brandeis. A key part of that is them learning to set goals.

The Brandeis Judges men’s and women’s tennis teams return to action from Feb. 18-23 when they visit Caltech, Pomona-Pitzer, and Claremont McKenna.

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