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Category: Coaching
Type: Philosophy


Motivation (N): The psychological feature that arouses a person to action toward a desired goal.

Difficult to accurately define, motivation is a trait that an athlete may or may not display. One can be naturally “motivated,” meaning they are consistently ready to work, eager to learn and driven to get better. Or, on the contrary, an individual may lack that “psychological feature” which causes motivation. The athlete may daydream during workouts, require constant encouragement and accept mediocrity.

Whether an individual is naturally motivated or not, motivation itself can be viewed as an acquired trait. Lifeletics instructors strive to teach motivation… through motivation. By pushing our athletes to constantly get better, our goal is to create an atmosphere where learning is desired… where working hard is “the cool thing to do.” The desired result is the development of those arousals, which drive individuals to achieve goals. Regardless of their natural make-up, athletes can learn motivation.

Athletes should understand that they can take what they want from a workout situation. They are in complete control of the extent of their improvement, and need to be challenged to reach the next level. The reality is that an athlete will inevitably improve through practice, workouts, and games. However, the degree to which these athletes improve is directly linked to amount of motivation he or she operates with.

Creating an atmosphere of Motivation
In an effort to assist motivational development, a parent or coach can provide motivation. This is a serious responsibility of an instructor, and a necessary component in assisting an athlete to grow. Motivation must be supportive in nature, nurturing yet pushing, and consistent in its application. Athletes expect to be pushed by a professional, and therefore accept the motivation as part of that experience.

However, athletes are not always as responsive to motivational tactics when it comes from Mom or Dad. In an effort to create motivation within a young athlete, ensure that the athlete follows a structured and progressive workout regiment. However, do not communicate the planning or intensity of this progression. Rather, treat the workouts as spontaneous and pressure-free, allowing an athlete to enjoy the process of improvement. Seeing results will stoke the internal fire to get better and work harder. By focusing first on enjoying each workout, and then on the improvements being made, an athlete will learn to feed off of the positive growth.

Perhaps then, rather than a parent “nagging” a youngster to practice… the athlete will be the one tugging at his parent’s shirt to go play catch. Be careful though, a motivated athlete becomes a time-consuming offspring!

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Submitted by: Dan Keller

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