What Motivates You? (Part 1)

Motivation is a very intriguing topic because there are various kinds of motivation and everyone reacts differently to each one. This blog will be to inform you of the various types of motivations; however, ultimately only you can decide which type(s) motivate you best.

Intrinsic Motivation vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Lets first start with the two categories of motivation, the first one being Intrinsic Motivation.
Intrinsic motivation comes from within, and these are the types of athletes who compete for the love of the game. They find the sport enjoyable and like the day-to-day grind for no other reason than it makes them happy.
The second type of motivation is called Extrinsic Motivation, and this refers to the motivation to win championships, receive a reward, or some other external motive that helps an athlete compete in a sport.
Now sit back, think, and list some things that motivate you or your child to compete in the sport that you/they are involved in. What type of motivation best fits you/them?
Most of the time there will be a combo of the two types of motivations and this is completely OK. In fact this is what you should strive for as a high level athlete.
Research has shown that athletes that have the highest motivation tend to be both intrinsic and extrinsically motivated.
As for younger athletes, they need to first discover that sports are fun (intrinsic) without the pressures of rewards (extrinsic), in order to put in place and utilize the correct motivational building blocks. It is shown that high extrinsic motivation can only help an athlete when intrinsic motivation is at a high level to begin with. Supporting younger athletes and helping them become intrinsically motivated is extremely important.
Flow, also known as the highest level of intrinsic motivation, is a state where you are completely engrossed in your sport. This state of mind brings about loss of self-consciousness so much to the point where you are no longer thinking, and you are just playing.
As an athlete, I’m sure you are all familiar with the term “in the zone” or “feeling it”. These are terms that relate to the flow mind state. If you have ever experienced this, you know this is no easy state to achieve, and it does not happen on a game-to-game basis. However, there are a few things you can do to help induce this state:
  • Visualize how you want to perform on the field, find a spot that is quiet, slow your breathing, and think about your play. See yourself on the field, the court, or the rink and watch yourself make the moves you want to make, or score the goals you want to score.
  • Write goals down and look at them every day. Make a short term (1 month), medium term (3-6 months) and long term (1 year or more) goal and leave them somewhere you can see them at least once a day, I’d suggest your bedroom door or refrigerator.
  • Be who you want to be. Sounds like a cliché? Yes. Sounds confusing? Yes. But ever heard of the term “walk the walk and talk the talk”. Well this is where it applies. You want to be a champion? Act like one, talk like one. You want to be the best? Act like you are the best, talk like you are the best. Don’t ever be afraid to be confident. Some may judge you and call you cocky or arrogant but the only way to be the best is to really truly believe it yourself.
I know this is a lot to take in, but motivation is a huge part of being an athlete and training. I want to stress the importance of it and that is why there will be a second and even maybe a third part to this topic in the near future, but for now think about some of the things I talked about here and decide…What motivates YOU!?
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