There are countless definitions of motivation. But how does motivation work on a daily basis without all the technical words?
Motivation is the basis for us to achieve something – whether it is to be the best in our field or just to learn to paint in our free time.
But when I take a step back, how does motivation arise? Where does it come from when we can’t touch it? The most important foundations for motivation will always be based on the fact that we enjoy it. We can have different motives for what we do, in addition to fun. We may want to prove something to our friends and family, it may be a bet, we may want to be famous and rich. If we don’t enjoy it, it will definitely not last long.
So how do you work with it on a daily basis from the position of an athlete, parent and coach?
For athletes, fun will always be the most important part. It will be difficult for an athlete to spend the years of his life, his free time doing something that he does not enjoy. It is normal to have crisis from time to time. It is important at this time to turn the thoughts towards: „If I devote time to this exercise, it will improve my the skills, I will be much better and I will enjoy it all more.“ If an athlete is actively competing and stops doing well, it is common for him to start losing motivation. In such a case, it is possible that the current form does not meet the expectations that the athlete has, and this brings us back to the beginning. If the athlete’s primary goal is fun, he will enjoy the sport itself. The results come with difficult training sessions and tears, which is again associated with the fact that we simply like the sport.
Try to remember how you felt when you were a kid. When you went to play with other kids after school. Who were your friends? Mostly those who enjoyed the same activity and you didn’t care about the level at all at that moment. You were looking forward to simply play when you went to the playground by your houses. Remember your inner child and the joy. Being adults does not mean that we cannot act like kids in this case. Try to awaken exactly this joy in yourself. The one that is not tied to any results, to the expectations of people around you, to fame. The one that is purely about wanting to drop all things coming from school and going to play with friends. At that moment, you didn’t mind that it was raining or that you didn’t have the best equipment and that you were actually learning everything quite randomly.
Motivation fluctuates over time, there is no one in the world who is always motivated. So don’t worry, you don’t always feel that way. It is normal to take a break for a while, take a breath, try something else and then go back with the newly pumped energy and a new way that will lead you to your goal. It’s just about you. No one around you is in your body, they can’t tell you how to feel or what to do. It is your responsibility. Responsibility towards yourself, doing what you enjoy and setting goals in your sport, the fulfillment, which is entirely up to you.
So don’t be afraid to dream, do what you enjoy and don’t worry about everything not being bathed in the sun.
The coach especially is a role model for kids. Someone who teaches them everything, who shows them the way. Who is an authority and a friend for them. Being a coach is extremely difficult. You usually have several roles at the same time during practice sessions. Everyone is different, everyone has a different need, everyone has a different motivation.
Every coach should know the motivation of everyone they take care of. Thanks to this, everyone should have set goals and expectations according to their level and their skills. However, do not try to invent motivation. The coach should be a source of inspiration, not motivation. Do you have an athlete in training that is disconnected from his motivation? Ask him what’s going on. Maybe it doesn’t have to be related to sports at all. If so, ask him what he would enjoy. Don’t try to make it up for him. If the athlete does not know, give him several options to choose from. So inspire in which direction he could go, but leave the final decision to him. It is important to talk about everything. It can sometimes help on its own.
Be a role model. Do you want everyone to come to practice on time and do their best? Be on time and get the most out of your sessions. Do you want athletes to improve? Set yourself the goal you want to improve in and share it with your training group. Coaches can pass on a lot of habits that are reflected in everyday life.
As coaches, you should mainly develop the joy of sports. Lead athletes to a responsible approach to training that will motivate them to learn new and new things. You should not be afraid to talk to them that sometimes they fail and that this is normal. Sport is much more than just first places. If you lead the practice sessions in a pleasant way so that everyone will look forward to them, it will rarely happen that someone will not stay with sport long-term.
Parents are a key part of motivation for kids. From the first minute in this world, our parents shape our perception of the world. Kids are like sponges that absorb all information like water. They memorize all the patterns of behavior they observe around them. Parents have an influence on the formation of personality, on the opinions that the child has, on the approach to responsibilities and life in general.
Thus, parents are able to influence the child’s motivation, especially at an early age.
I probably can’t emphasize this enough, but the most important thing is to listen to the child. Perceive what he enjoys, what activity he has a talent for and then devote himself to it, regardless of what the parent wants. The worst thing for a child can be to engage in activity because their parents want to. In the long run, the child will suffer and will run out of time when he can devote the time to what he really enjoys.
If a parent wants to maintain the child’s motivation for a long time, it is necessary to engage in the sport. There is nothing better for a child than if, for example, a football player will be able to play with his dad for a while during the weekend, or an athlete will run with her mother.
The child tends to look up to his parents and repeat the parents‘ behavior.
Try to praise your child. He has a coach for criticism and correction of technique. Praise him for his approach. Encourage him when he fails. Talk to him about how his motivation changes over time and support him in what he really wants.
Please avoid common mistakes and do not fulfill your dreams through your children.
If you want to give your child a constructive feedback, communicate it in terms of skill, not personality. So avoid: You are clumsy. Instead, use sentences like: The trick you made can be improved. Thanks to this, you will keep your child motivated to further improve.
So the key to motivation is FUN. This is step A. Nothing more, nothing less. How to work with specific motivation of everyone, setting goals is step 2, 3, 4…
So do you have fun or your children enough during sport?