Motivational Techniques For Coaches And Athletes

Novi Sad Dukes
“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it” - Dwight D Eisenhower 
Motivation can influence decisions, learning and performance in sport. If a performer is not in a positive psychological state, mistakes will be made in the performance, and they will not perform at their best level. Enhancing motivation is important for a change of attitude, developing a positive mindset and engaging in systematic behaviors – the short-term process goals – that facilitate improvement. If you have a leadership role in sport you will have considerable influence on how motivated your athletes or team might feel. You can instill a good work ethic, recognize individual effort and instigate transparent reward structures that reinforce teams sense of competence. Always keep in mind that motivation differs from person to person and is unique. 

Some important motivators: 

Setting team goals 
It is often difficult to persuade your team to set some long term goals, but it is by far one of the best motivational techniques. 

For setting long term goals it’s quite important to bear in mind few things: 
  • Long term goals have to be ambitious 
  • Long term goals have to be achievable 
  • Medium term goals should be set in order to keep your team focused on long term goals 
  • Short term goals are essential for focus, condition, technique and performance 

The most important type of goals, in practical terms are the short-term goals, because they keep athletes focused on the planned activities which are important for achieving superior performance. Short-term goals should be process oriented. 

Goals need to be monitored and revised. Goal setting process works best when there is some flexibility and when the team accepts the goal as its own. 

Motivational rewards 
One of strongest motivators are rewards. Coach or a team leader most often don’t have the opportunity to know if a player or a team is going to win or lose. Regardless of winning or losing team and/or its members should be rewarded for their efforts in order to pursuit previously set goals. Rewards such as “Teams MVP”, annual awards, specially designed clothing, small things that acknowledge the effort, hard work or team spirit, are most often injections of motivation. 

Motivational music 
“…in the early stages of hominid evolution, in order to defend hominids against the big African predators (big cats, saber-toothed tigers) after they descended from the relatively safe tree branches to the predator-infested ground. Its suggested that the ancient battle cry was used to put hominids and early humans in a specific altered state of consciousness, the battle trance, where group members were losing their individuality and were obtaining collective identity” 

Those were the first tunes of motivational music. Nowadays it’s important to keep in mind that motivational music should: 
  • Follow the practice rhythm 
  • Bring the team to “I can do anything” mindset 
  • Be used in any given chance 

Positive self-talk 
“Positive self-talk is a technique that can be used to enhance motivation. It is useful for reinforcing personal self-esteem or important aspects of performance. With appropriate repetition, self-talk can positively alter an athlete’s belief system.” The first type is known as task-relevant self-talk, which serves to focus an athlete’s attention on the task at hand. The second type is known as mood-related self-talk, which impacts on how athletes feel. The third type is known as a positive self-affirmation statement. 

Haka (singular is the same as plural: haka) is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge from the Māori people of New Zealand. It is a posture dance performed by a group, with vigorous movements and stamping of the feet with rhythmically shouted accompaniment.[1] The New Zealand rugby team's practice of performing a haka before their matches has made the dance more widely known around the world. Well, it sure works for them. 

“I figured that, if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.” - Mohammed Ali 

"Hell is the knowledge of opportunity lost; the place where the man I am comes face to face with the man I might have been." - Anonymous 

“The more you sweat in practice, the less you bleed in battle.” - Unknown 

Vukašin Simonović