August 12, 2011
Motivation is a skill. Practice it!
Today's Mental Skills Tip - You can get whatever you want in life if you have enough MOTIVATION and COURAGE! Every coach in America wants athletes who are "intrinsically" motivated. However, it would be abnormal for a person to always be energetic and excited about working hard, even when the work is challenging and uncomfortable? Coaching is about many things, from teaching mechanics and strategy to team building to leading by example to mentoring and training mental skills. Enhancing motivation should be at or near the top of the list of every coach's responsibilities, even if the only person you are coaching is yourself.
Can you commit to achieving your goals, rather than merely being interested in them? You'll need to create a compelling future to generate energy and momentum. Having a clear vision about where you want to go is the first step. Next, we all have values that we move towards and other things that we value avoiding. If your values are motivating you sufficiently, great. If your motivation could be better, then re-word, re-arrange, or re-emphasize what you want, or want to avoid, until your values are working for you.
For example, I have this "friend" who hates losing and also hates feeling guilty. Since he so strongly wants to avoid these forms of pain, he takes motivated action to try to win, and he acts in a way that is congruent with what he says and thinks so he won't feel guilty. The words used in self-talk are critical. In the past, instead of hating these things, my "friend" just disliked them. Many times that just wasn't enough to motivate him as much as he wanted. This "friend" also loves to help others. Unfortunately for taking action, he also likes lounging around, surfing the web, and sleeping. By clarifying his top goals and why they are so important, I can create-I mean, my "friend" (wink, wink)- can create a compelling future.
Next, remember Zig Zigler's words, "I recommend both bathing and motivation daily." We can use inspiring quotes, songs, poems, and images every day to quickly create and maintain positive momentum. Prayer often aids this process. A daily review of personal goals and inspiring words and images can provide the impetus to do something amazing - overcome inertia. Once momentum is achieved, your skills, talents, and clarity about where you are headed will take you to your goals. Remember, the hardest step on any journey, by far, is that first one.
Finally, we should try hard to surround ourselves with inspiring people -- AND be one who inspires by example. It is so much easier to approach your potential when you hang out with a team on a mission rather than a group of stoners. Motivated is an attitude, and attitudes are contagious. Make yours worth catching!
COACHING POINT - Like it or not, motivation is a huge part of our job. Find a way to motivate yourself because we lead first by setting a good example. This will make it easier to find the energy and creativity needed to motivate your players/teammates. And when you see them, start the process with a smile.