Written by Dave Gannaway
Sport motivation in general is a little different to the norm. Why, because sportsmen and women are already pretty motivated … they must be or they wouldn’t pursue sport. Their motivational objective goes beyond dangling the carrot … that is already in place, its aim being motivated to achieve peak performance.
Motivation in the world of commerce is the manager’s responsibility. In the world of sports, the coach is in the hot seat. As we have said many times people are very individual and require a variety of techniques to motivate them. The realm of sport motivation is no exception.
The individuality of sportsmen and women present many coaches with a dilemma. Since most coaches have more than one, often a whole group, of athletes to work with, the individual does not get the personalized focus they need. Coaches are forced to facilitate a general technique of sport motivation leaving some athletes short of their potential.
Some coaches are of the opinion that an athlete either has it or not! I have heard it said that you can’t give anyone that killer instinct to win. Well that I believe is extreme … not everyone comes from such derived circumstances that have adopted that killer instinct to survive. The great Tiger Woods was coached by his father who created his resistance to every possible distraction. Michael Schumacher seven times formula 1 motor racing champion just couldn’t accept anything other than winning first place.
As the great poet William Shakespeare said, “Assume a virtue and it’s yours.” Or in a more modern idiom, what you think is what you get!
Coaching styles vary greatly and generally fall into two categories:
• Drill sergeant at boot camp. The strict task master. Shape up-or ship out, kill or cure disciplinarians. Often coaching teams or groups.
• Positive approach. Reward and reinforcement using praise and encouragement. The idea here is that if you reinforce good behaviors it is more likely to happen again.
Sports psychologist research show that the positive techniques are predominantly favored by approximately 85% of coaches … a few exceptions show that some athletes favor coaches that shout. Everyone is different and ideally as athletes reach the peak of their career they can afford the luxury of their own individual coach.
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