Motivation can be defined as the desire to achieve a goal, with athletes potentially being motivated to win a competition, improve their skills or simply for enjoyment. The first step for coaches is to know what motivates their players, with youngsters generally being inspired by the following:
However, for young athletes to get the most out of sport, coaches play a major role, with the following points being worth considering when looking to inspire the next generation of sportsmen and women.
Discover Individual Motivators
Everyone is unique when it comes to motivation, meaning that coaches must learn as much as possible about their players in order to ensure that they remain focused on developing, as well as enjoying what they are doing. Whether it be for the love of the sport that they are participating in, improving skills, receiving encouragement or lifting a trophy, such factors are likely to have an effect upon how motivated young athletes are. However, it is certainly not “one size fits all” when it comes to motivation, meaning that it can take both time and effort in order to work out what makes different players tick. However, once this is achieved, coaches can start to come up with training sessions and objectives.
Any coach worth their salt will be able to answer the question of why youngsters should participate in sporting activity. Sometimes stating the benefits of what you are doing is the simplest method of motivating, as it acts as a reminder to players. Certain training exercises can sometimes feel pointless or repetitive, especially to youngsters, meaning that it becomes even more important to make them understand exactly why they are completing them. Coaches must also ensure that they explain this in a way that is understandable for children.
Maximise Teamwork Opportunities
Forming positive relationships and developing social skills is one of the biggest positives that comes out of sport, with players regularly being required to go the extra mile for the sake the team. The sense of connection in which sport can bring is priceless, with the best coaches being able to ensure that such bonds are as strong as possible. This can be achieved by encouraging team bonding, as well as making a point of celebrating any individual or team accomplishments.
It is important for coaches to try and recognise even the smallest of improvements, whether it be individually or as a team. Celebrating successes should not just come after an impressive victory on the weekend, with more minor recognition often having a greater impact. So, when players perform a coaching drill effectively or perform a skill that they had previously been unable to master, be sure to let them know how well they have done.
For youngsters, sport should really only be about one word, fun! However, ensuring that organised physical activity is enjoyable is easier said than done, with everyone having different personalities and needs in this area. So, just how can coaches ensure that they consistently put on engaging sessions?