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Proper Motivation

When you know how to properly motivate your athletes, they’re much more likely to reach their full potential and perform their best. But this requires more than just the occasional pep talk. In order to effectively motivate athletes, you will need to create an environment and culture that encourages them to always follow your lead and give their best effort. These tips from SkillsYouNeed.com will help you make that happen.

To start, it’s important to understand the different kinds of motivation and how they vary for each person. There are two types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic – “I do this because I want to” (i.e. love)
  • Extrinsic – “I do this because I have to” (i.e. duty)

Athletes are usually motivated by a combination of the two, but the degree to which they are driven by love of the sport and duty to their coaches and teammates will vary from person to person and from task to task. For example, an athlete who loves to compete might be less motivated doing an individual drill during training. One solution is to introduce a competitive aspect into the drill in order to provide more motivation. Getting to know your individual athletes and what they love to do is key to being an effective motivator.

If you want your athletes to stay motivated every day during training, you will have to provide them with tasks that are both interesting and stimulating. In order to make that happen, avoid these three basic characteristics of tasks that lead to boredom:

  • Quantitative underload – not having enough to do
  • Qualitative underload – when tasks are simple and unchallenging
  • Qualitative overload – when individuals are asked to do tasks that are too complex, and ‘switch off’ because they feel unable to achieve what they have been asked to do

Being an effective motivator also means knowing how to provide the right rewards. Some athletes need to be challenged or given a more difficult task in order to be motivated, while others might work their hardest when they know that afterwards they will be given a chance to rest or do something fun and relaxing. Whatever the reward, it’s essential that you recognize and show appreciation for the hard work done by your athletes. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Your reward system needs to recognize and reward the behavior that you want to see
  • Rewards should be personally tailored
  • Rewards should not be complex

Along with the need to motivate your athletes on a daily basis, talking to them about the bigger picture and long-term goals is an important part of creating a motivated environment. Set clear objectives for your program and explain where you want the team to be by the end of the season Then talk to each individual athlete about the role they can play and how they can contribute towards achieving that goal. When athletes believe their hard work will lead to something bigger down the road, they are much more likely to stay motivated through the ups and downs of a season. 

We’ll send ALL OF YOUR COACHES a weekly email newsletter containing instruction, advice and valuable information on:
  • PROPER COMMUNICATION: With your athletes, parents, administrators and the coaches
  • SUCCESSFUL OPERATIONS: Pre-Season, In-Season, Off-Season
  • LEADERSHIP TECHNIQUES: Creating the proper environment for teaching athletes life skills
  • RISK MANAGEMENT: Keeping your athletes safe at practices, during games, off-eason training, etc.
  • ATHLETE PERFORMANCE: Tips in areas of Conditioning, Nutrition, Mental Training, etc., that help your athletes perform at their best and improve their overall wellness
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Ways to help your coaches be the best they can be
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