Athletes are motivated by many reasons. We see athletes competing to win gold medals, to achieve number 1 world rankings, or to win the local basketball tournament. When a new sports season begins, athletes see themselves achieving their goals. They cannot wait to hold the trophy and receive congratulatory comments from a lot of people. But, is imagining holding a trophy, also called an extrinsic motivation, enough to motivate an athlete? It is clear that achieving those goals are highly inspiring, but it is also found that to really excel in sports, successful athletes take full ownership of their behavior as a conduit to achieve one’s goals. Also called intrinsic motivation, athletes take responsibility of the work that will lead them to success.
Intrinsic motivation addresses factors that will ultimately lead them to achieve their goals. Intrinsically motivated athletes take full ownership of their training and sacrifices as they see themselves competing to reach their highest level. They understand it is up to them to achieve those goals. The time and effort placed to improve their physical, skills and mental endurance is devoted to raise their level of excellence. Although they see the trophy in the foreground, their emphasis is placed in achieving their OWN best. They are self-motivated to improve out of their passion for their chosen sport. At the end of the day, intrinsically motivated athletes are very honest to what kind of effort they put in and feel they have nobody else to respond to, but to themselves.
Young athletes spend countless of hours practicing their chose sport. There are huge sacrifices made to help them achieve their goals. They receive a lot of support from coaches and parents. However, as much as these caring individuals want young athlete to succeed, it eventually comes down to embracing one’s intrinsic motivation. Maybe it is the mastery of a new skill, having fun, or wanting to reach a self-determined goal. Whatever it is, be sure to identify and own your intrinsic motivator. It will help you to remain on course of your own goals, negotiate challenges with a positive attitude, and celebrate even the little achievements.
Keep your extrinsic motivators in the forefront while embracing your intrinsic motivators!