Athletes have a particular degree of motivation when engaging in sport, they can be in the appropriate range of motivation, over motivated, or amotivated. Every type of motivation influences athlete´s enthusiasm, hard work at the practice, willingness to fight in competition, or the length of remaining active in sport.
There are two kinds of motivation:
- Internal motivation that is based mostly on the internal persuasion and athletic strength. Athletes with such motivation attribute their victories to their own effort, they accept their failure with humility and try to learn from mistakes. Reaching high levels of internal motivation can be beneficial for athletes. Individuals are motivated from their own persuasion, want to get better from their own initiative and do not need any external factors.
- On the other side, athletes with external motivation rely on physical reward. They attribute their victories, for example to luck and loses to the inappropriate opponent behaviour.
Based on research, athletes belong to two categories:
- Orientation on task: athletes focus on improving their performance by reaching better results while having fun from doing sport. These individuals are not afraid of challenges or possible loses, because they know, that loses can help them improve as well. These athletes are characterized by optimal effort and persistence, they see their success as the result of their own ambition or teamwork.
- Orientation on ego, in this category, athletes are protecting their ego. This means that they do not search for challenging situations. They start to compete mostly if they are able to protect their ego. These athletes extremely focus what others think about them and how they see them. That is the reason why they are so afraid of losing because it would negatively influence other people opinion about them.
How to improve your motivation?
If athletes feel that they are not enough motivated and would like to increase their motivation. One of the possibility is setting a goal, where athletes have a vision and try to do everything to reach it.
Also, positive self-talk can help to increase motivation. This self-talk is not helpful only to increase motivation, but it is also beneficial for the overall confidence of an individual. This self-talk needs to be executed often. Positive, motivated, and confident athletes can significantly increase their performance much better than negative and amotivated individuals.
Another possibility is called “imagery of success”, where an athlete pictures himself as successful athlete who reach particular targets. For example, at the beginning of the season, an athlete can imagine himself how should he play on different tournaments. This vision pushes athlete forward, it increases his motivation and confidence. There are many other techniques which could increase your motivation.
What is the best way to motivate your children?
Since every motivation from parents or coaches is external motivation, parents have to be careful how to motivate. Because this motivation can become a “bribe”. If parents offer children a physical reward for working hard at the practice, what can happen is that children will expect this reward every time. If the reward is missing, children will not work hard at the practice anymore. This is the reason, why the best way to motivate children is by verbal encouragements or praise. Individuals will be proud, that their parents are happy and satisfied.
If an athlete does not have internal persuasion to perform sport, the verbal reward will not be enough. This is the reason, why parents have to lead their children to perform sport from their own initiative. Also, the correct feedback, praise, or comment can increase motivation, mood, but can also lead to an increased confidence (for example: today at the practice, you worked really hard, I really liked it; during the match you behaved as professional, very good).
Can punishment or blame be beneficial?
Definitely not. These days too many parents yell at their children, punish them for loses or even threaten them by forbidding favourite activities. All these negative attitudes affect children very counterproductive, and parents just damage their children. There should not be any negative behaviour in sport, otherwise parents should expect negative behaviour from children in return.
Of course, complimenting children all the time is not good as well, because children would not learn from mistakes. If they have done something wrong, parents need to discuss and analyse it peacefully. Communication is the key of a successful athlete.
If an athlete does not behave appropriately, parents need to evaluate it. However, trying it in positive manners and creating possitive sentences can be very beneficial. For example instead of saying: today, you played awful, I prohibit you to play any videogames until you start behaving respectable and fair play, you could tell them: Today, you behaved very unprofessional like, for the next time you need to get better, you need to show how an athlete should behave, you are just showing your opponent that you are weak.
Obviously, every athlete knows how their motivation has ups and downs; however, the true competitive athlete can keep their motivation high and under control. Hence, it is necessary to practice and increase motivational skills, so dear athletes try these techniques and you will see that it truly helps.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, I will be happy to help.