How Do I Motivate Them?

“If I keep them motivated, we’ll be fine.” “How do I motivate my athletes?” “I just have to find a way to keep my players motivated through the season.” “What motivates you guys?”

These are all thoughts that run through a coach’s head, or anyone that works with athletes: “How do I motivate them?”

Without motivation it is difficult to progress in sport, especially intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is the desire to perform a task to gain only the pure enjoyment from performing the task. Meaning, athletes engage in an activity because they genuinely like it. This sounds fairly standard, right? Athletes usually participate in a sport because they enjoy it. However, external factors, such as extrinsic rewards could have an adverse effect on intrinsic motivation. When athletes are consistently rewarded, their source of motivation then becomes extrinsic. The rewards and incentives begin to chip away at that inner joy, leaving them with less internal desire to continue playing. Anyone that has ever been around sports knows that continuous progress and success requires some level of intrinsic motivation. You may have heard it mentioned that some athletes are “born with it,” or it is something “internal.” That’s intrinsic motivation. So, how do you enhance your intrinsic motivation?

1. Learn something new: when athletes frequently have a new skill, play, sequence, shot, or something similar to learn, it excites them. It makes it fun. It keeps them coming back.

2. Notice improvement: athletes want to know when they are improving and they want to have some recognition for their progresses. When they feel their efforts are worthy, they will likely eagerly continue.

3. Apply effort: athletes want to be challenged. They want to exert themselves to a certain degree. When athletes have to put forth an amount of effort, they feel valued, and when they feel valued they enjoy the environment.

4. Focus on the right goal: when athletes have attainable goals relevant to their performance, they are more likely to stay motivated to achieve them. Ensure their goals are in line with their vision.

Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. “Champions aren’t made in the gym. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them- a desire, a dream, a vision.” –Muhamad Ali

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