Today’s post is about motivation, and what to do when you’re working with a particular breed of animal..the teenager, who doesn’t always have much of it!!!
I occasionally like to post on aspects of psychology as it is a huge part of what makes a successful athlete and coach. In a previous blog I spoke about building confidence through results. Click HERE for the full article.
In that post I made the point that the results the player/athlete gets (winning a match or beating a personal best) build confidence that what they are doing is working and therefore are seen as contributing to a sense of achievement and increasing competence (e.g. time splits in swimming or running that are better – that’s what PB’s are about).
Achieving Personal bests though is not as easy as it sounds so as well as having confidence you need to be motivated!
Most children that start playing sport when they are young do so because it is fun! Some children might have dreams about being a professional sportsman or woman, but many do not.
For me, one of the greatest challenges is working with athletes who say they want one thing (e.g. be a Tennis Professional) and yet aren’t motivated to do the work. Alistair McCaw wrote a great article: ‘What happens when the parent wants ‘It’ more than the kid? – which you can read HERE.
”It’s easy for an athlete to say they want to be a professional, or one day win a grand slam championship. However, It’s much harder for them to say they want the struggle, hours upon hours of mundane repetition and the challenge.”
In the article Alistair talks about Intrinsic motivation, which he refers to as motivation that comes from inside an individual rather than from any external or outside reward. The motivation comes from the pleasure one gets from the task itself or from the sense of satisfaction in completing or even working on a task.
Working with teenagers is particularly challenging as they are at a point in their young careers where the stakes become higher. They are often forfeiting full-time main stream education to afford them the opportunities to practice more in their main sport. It’s also a time when there are a lot of distractions socially that just seem way more fun.
The reality is when you make the kind of commitment required to realise a goal of becoming a professional sportsman or woman you have to enjoy the GRIND! You need to enjoy the process of doing the work which coaches call GRIT!
As Alistair says, ‘To be successful in anything, you need to have a passion for what you do and then have the GRIT, in other words you need to deeply love what you do, and are able to embrace struggle and take challenges head-on.’
Did it work?
It had a good effect for the first week but once they realised that they would be out of contention (if they had a few days off ill, or were at a tournament) they said they no longer valued having a merit. They didn’t care if they got one or not as it wouldn’t make a difference to getting the prize.
Why didn’t it work?
It didn’t work because I was tapping into Extrinsic Motivation.
Is there a more successful extrinsic reward?
So it comes back to intrinsic motivation!
- Feeling healthy
- Getting a sweat on
- Getting a beach body
- Getting ripped
- Copying their role model’s training
Be a great Role Model
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