Playing sports and competing against others can be fun, exciting, and motivating in and of itself. When we participate in activities for sheer enjoyment, we don’ t need much convincing to continue. Sometime, over-time we begin to notice that we find activities less enjoying and more work. When we are provided with praise, rewards, money, and popularity, activities prove to continue with incentive. When we avoid feelings of guilt, scrutiny, and negative feedback we feel obligated to continue. All of these methods of motivation can help us to continue to participate in activities. Some, however, are much more likely to last over time, provide considerably more fun, result in consistency, and motivate us to put forth the most effort. Internal motivation is the most powerful form of motivation we can find. Those who possess internal motivation are more likely to reach the pinnacle of their respective performances and remain passionate and consistent over time.

Motivation can be measured in many different ways and using numerous different methods. When we think about the quantity of motivation, we are usually thinking about how much passion one has towards an activity. The more passionate we are about something the more motivated we are to participate, contribute, and sustain efforts to perform. Finding a passion or remaining passionate about your sport is a sure way to sustain motivation and enjoyment. Consistency in motivation is usually associated to the quality of the motivation. The more consistent the passion, energy, and effort put forth the greater the quality of the motivation. Some athletes will have better consistency than passion; others will have more passion than consistency. Balancing the quality and quantity of motivation will optimize performance.

When learning new skills and enhancing your performance, it is important to have an idea of what a finished product of your skills should look like. Finding someone after whom you can strive to model your performance is a great way to sustain motivation towards this goal. Equally important, however, is the concept of informative vicarious experience rather than comparative vicarious experience. Comparing yourself to your hero or the elite athletes of the world will usually lead to feelings closer to inadequacy and frustration. Informing yourself of the best approaches, learn by doing, and tweeking your own abilities will be much more motivating and encouraging.

Staying Motivated: 1. Utilize other mental skills 2. Create a highlight reel 3. “Guaranty” Success 4. Help make decisions (personal/team) 5. Praise performance (not outcome) 6. Recognize and reinforce competence 7. Sustain creativity and enjoyment.

Sometimes we are not the victor after competition. Sometimes we are handed defeats that are unexpected, painful, and disappointing. In order to remain motivated and focused after such events we need to approach the situation with the right attitude. Learning about yourself, your performance, and your weaknesses through failure will ultimately make you a better performer. Use the feedback from your own perceptions and those whom you trust to find the cracks in your game that can be reinforced and mended with your strengths and efforts. After you have accomplished and learned from your mistakes, move past them and release the emotions, negativity, and frustrations associated to them.

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