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Five brilliant ways to motivate athletes

Expert trainers and coaches are excellent motivators. They consistently get their athletes to perform better, and always with passion. What’s their strategy?

They don’t use fear or incentives to motivate their athletes. Yes these methods do work but only for a short time. The athlete who’s afraid spends his time running away from the fear (and eventually runs away from the coach who created it).

And the incentives, once they’re obtained, lose their appeal. And the coach has to find a bigger incentive to re-motivate the athlete.

Expert coaches instil their athletes with a sense of purpose. This is what becomes the driver for excellence and passion. And it grows a sense of achievement and fulfilment in the athlete. This means the win becomes its own reward.

Take a look at the five powerful ways to achieve this.

1. Get their buy-in and commitment

The easiest way to achieve this is to create healthy discussion around the athlete’s goals and also how you plan to reach them together. Simply giving the athlete an instruction or a training programme, without explaining how and why it will benefit him, is like leaving him in the dark.

If the athlete understands your game plan and supports it by offering his suggestions and feedback, it means his heart is in it. And then you don’t need to wave any carrots in front of his nose!

2. Create the right environment

The right training environment for an athlete is important. There should be a focus on quality and excellence, on challenge, as well as recognition for performance and effort.

So set high standards for your athletes (and yourself). Make sure you give your athlete plenty of feedback. Constructive criticism is important. But so is a word of praise or positive feedback. Experts recommend that – when giving constructive criticism – you use the Sandwich Method where your critique is prefaced (and ends off with) positive feedback.

Of course, trust is an important ingredient in his environment. You should have a caring and trusting relationship with your athlete. He needs to know that you’re committed to their success and performance.

3. Be an amazing teacher

Your athlete can have all the heart in the world but if his technique, form and his mindset aren’t right, he’ll never win. That’s where you come in: Teach him the best technique and the best form. Show him how to think about his training, the challenges of his sport and how to visualise his success. Knowledge is power, after all.

4. Measure performance regularly

Progress is a fabulous motivator. If you’re measuring performance regularly, and tracking progress, you’ll be able to reward and celebrate the little victories or improvements along the way. And that’s very motivating.

5. Remember the fun

Professional athletes want and need to take their training seriously. But we’re programmed to learn something new more easily, if it’s fun. So make sure your athlete is having a little fun in his training programme just to keep him engaged and happy.

Put these tips into practice, and you’ll see the improvement and passion in your athletes!

If you’re interested in becoming a sports coach, then consider signing up for Trifocus Fitness Academy’s Sports Coaching Science Certification. It’ll give you the tools, knowledge and qualification you need to make a career in sports. You can read more about the course here.