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The Importance of Motivation on Coaches and Players

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sports
Wordcount: 2054 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Motivation is examined in a sport environment with athletes and coaches being the focus point. The emphasis revolves around why motivation is essential to keep competitors driven and how there are two different variables affected when it comes to motivation in athletics; coaches and athletes. Motivation derives from different places for both and when times become difficult, it is required for overcoming adversity.  Coaches base their drive on once being an athlete and using their prior knowledge to set a respectable example for their mentees. Whereas, current athletes require to motivation when it comes to setback injuries and they need to find hope for return. Continuing the trend of motivation, coaches and athletes both share the same desire for success and feed off each other with trying to be their greatest self. Motivation is what makes sport environments competitive and exciting for all: athletes, coaches and the bystanders.

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 Motivation is a universal stimulus for people to engage themselves in preparation for an event. Behaviors and actions are energized by the pushing force in which one finds a reason to act and behave the way they do (Clancy, Herring, & Campbell, 2017).  In all aspects of life, motivation is utilized and conducted to push an inner power to perform. Motivation coincides with successful athletic performance. Whether it is a player or a coach performing, athletics require motivation as a tool of driving force to accomplish milestones in the sport. Drive is necessary from coaches to maintain a successful but rather passionate work environment for themselves and their players, so they can get the best experience (McLean & Mallet, 2012).

Within every person, there is motivation and the concept of “why”. Why is someone conducting themselves the way they are in a specific circumstance? Why settle for average when there is more in the fuel tank to relinquish? Why is one putting themselves through pain and criticism? The answer comes from within the mind because anything external such as home field advantage or a special person coming to watch a game causes an athlete to feel pressure to do well which results in self-motivation (McLean & Mallet, 2012). For athletes, a person can be self-motivated with passion and intensity but what about a coach or instructor of the sport? There needs to be a drive to motivate the motivator to a different level of play or else eventually when times become tough and everyone feels depleted, the motivator will bow their head alongside everyone and dwell on the negatives of the situation rather than the positives. A coach is the designer of motivation and they must guide their competitors in ways to improve their performance and build up their self-esteem in a way which they play for more than themselves (McLean & Mallett, 2012; Carpentier & Mageau, 2013). In cases where performance is not up to the standards of which the team developed once before, motivational input may be jeopardized by coach due to frustration and seem more as criticism than guidance to do greater (Clancy, Herring, & Campbell, 2017). Ultimately, a coach should always remain optimistic but that is not always the case when their emotions take over.

After a competitive event, the results stand final, but emotions remain continuous. Even after a victorious event, when there are improvable moments, everyone is living it up to celebrate the accomplishment. In contrast, after a deficit, the world seems as it is ending, and emotions speak clearer than reality. A coach’s behavior determines the outcome of the competitor’s drive to better themselves or else they would dwindle into absence. The way a coach structures their attitude and decision-making skills for feedback affects the way an athlete perceives their actions moving forward (Frederick & Morrison, 1999; Horn 2002). To maintain a motivational state for a coach, they must find their own sense of motivation.

When analyzing what motivates the motivator, one theme was common in majority of research; previous experience in the shoes of their athletes. At one point of every former athlete’s life came a time to hang up their equipment and switch their attention elsewhere. For some, the game is never a thought again but for others, they coach and share their knowledge and experiences (McLean & Mallet, 2012; Carpentier & Mageau, 2013). They are educators. Coaching provides people to stay current and connected to their lifelong passions in a different perspective and continue the strenuous rollercoaster emotions of competition. Sports would forever be their identity and their daily motivator to start their day; whether it is personally playing in adult leagues or instructing from the sideline (McLean & Mallett, 2012). You can take the athlete out of the game but not the game out of the athlete. A coach’s goal is to provide the success they once were given and to fulfill every athlete’s dream of competing competitively for a championship title.

As for obtaining a title which will represent a team for decades to come, a coach has a standard to fulfill of proving their abilities as a coach and being capable of instructing success. Their inner motivation to prove themselves keeps them updating their perception of the game and researching various ways to achieve the ultimate team. Self-motivation and determination to succeed appears to fuel a competition among coaches because as their teams are competing, coaches are competing to see whom has the best instruction (Vallerand & Losier, 1999). Coaches want to continue learning and improving their craft, so they can pass on their hunger for knowledge to their mentees of the sport. Aspirations to better oneself drives a coach to positive outcomes which is important for a successful team and program. Motivation starts with the coach and if there is negative or lack of empathy toward their players, it can be detrimental to performance. A coach’s feedback can either make or break a player’s motivational levels, so it is important to critique as well as praise their strengths. Change-orientated feedback in a calm tone increases a competitor’s motivational levels and self-esteem compared to a demeaning tone and pin-pointing all negative aspects based of frustration (Carpentier & Mageau, 2013).

When an athlete is focusing on their sport, many believe they are working to their full capacity but in retrospect, there is still a little bit more they can do. Coaches try to correct any mistakes which may be reoccurring but if an athlete loses confidence in their play because of criticism and advice, it can diminish their experience. A coach’s job is to stay practical while encouraging to keep their competitors positive and excited to face adversity. Athletes require motivation to push themselves to the next level and to keep benefiting themselves for the future of their sport through the good and bad times.

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Motivation for athletes can be imperative when an obstacle of an injury presents itself. When it comes to injuries, athletes are quick to drop their heads and feel remorse for the situation, not take it as an opportunity to become better (Podlog, Banham, Wadey, & Hannon, 2015).  Injuries are part of the sport and instead of taking it as the end of the world, it is only a minor setback. Those who dig deep to embellish their motivational attributes, find ways to work toward returning to their sport. Rehabilitation creates fear in athletes due to the belief of never returning to their initial performance (Lattimore, 2017). In rehabilitation, competitors are restarting at the beginning with hopes to progress rapidly to return to play but to get to that point, depending on the injury, may not be as clean cut. Injury presses athlete’s with loss of faith and forces them to focus their time on themselves and finding internal inspiration, sometimes pushing others away (Lattimore, 2017).

 Boredom is also damaging to competitors and it enhances their will to want to push themselves toward returning to their sport (Podlog et al., 2015). No one likes to sit and watch others participating in what they love and knowing they are unable to participate due to an injury. A minor setback can be a great comeback if the athlete uses motivation. This is not to say that every athlete should push themselves past their readiness to return but motivation is key to stay positive in a time of distress and hopelessness. Competitors inquired that having someone with the same injury can be motivational because they have someone to experience each step of the way with and compare progress along the journey of recovery (Podlog et al., 2015; Lattimore, 2017). A friend cannot harm when it comes to times of difficulty and every bit of positivity and motivation can enhance an athlete’s desire to return better than before.

Internal forces of motivation drive the athletic community to reach for their goals and press against adversity which would stand in their way. Sport environments emphasize competition and those whom participate in the environment must find motivation to succeed or else they will be bypassed (McLean & Mallet, 2012). Whether it is a player or a coach, each counterpart shares the common theme of motivational drive to be their best self and motivation is essential to keep athletic communities exciting and always wanting to be the greatest possible. Without motivation, competitors would be accepting of average and would not battle to overcome what the impossible may be. Sports settling would not be the same without motivation because it grants excitement for athletes and coaches to continue doing what they love.


  • Carpentier, J., & Mageau, G. A. (2013). When change-oriented feedback enhances motivation, well-being and performance: A look at autonomy-supportive feedback in sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise14(3), 423–435. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2013.01.003
  • Clancy, R. B., Herring, M. P., & Campbell, M. J. (2017). Motivation measures in sport: A critical review and bibliometric analysis. Frontiers in Psychology8. Retrieved from https://kean.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2017-12593-001&site=ehost-live
  • Frederick, C.M., and C.S. Morrison. 1999. Collegiate coaches: An examination of motivational style and its relationship to decision making and personality. Journal of Sport Behavior 22: 221 –33
  • Horn, T.S. 2002. Coaching effectiveness in the sport doma. Advances in sport psychology. ed. T.S. Horn, 309 –54. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • Lattimore, D. (2017). On the sidelines: An athlete’s perspective of injury recovery. Sport & Exercise Psychology Review13(2), 13–21. Retrieved from https://kean.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=125203292&site=ehost-live
  • McLean, K. N., & Mallett, C. J. (2012). What motivates the motivators? An examination of sports coaches. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy17(1), 21–35. https://doi.org/10.1080/17408989.2010.535201
  • Podlog, L., Hannon, J. C., Banham, S. M., & Wadey, R. (2015). Psychological Readiness to Return to Competitive Sport Following Injury: A Qualitative Study. Sport Psychologist29(1), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1123/tsp.2014-0063


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