How to motivate young athletes? 14 things to avoid

One of the biggest current concerns in the field of sport is related to the motivation of young athletes to enable them to realize their potential.

There are many professionals (coaches, assistants, managers, doctors, psychoeducators, psychologists, etc.) who from different points of view try to find the basic guidelines to ensure sufficient motivation, with which to achieve the maximum possible satisfaction. in the sport. The problem is that there is no consensus between them.

However, you can always think the other way around, i.e. think about what not to do to stay motivated of an athlete.

    To motivate young athletes, we must avoid …

    Below are 14 things to avoid in the world of sport, especially with young athletes. The recommendations are mainly intended for coaches.

    1. Do not tolerate the ups and downs of performance

    In the world of sports, as in other areas of life, athletes can have better and worse days. The important thing is that they feel supported by their coaches and that they respect and understand the changes. That is why it is always important to pay attention to the athlete’s usual behavior and select the right tools to deal with it.

    2. Consider “result = to be”

    Many athletes feel that the environment values ​​them as a person based on their athletic performance. In these cases, they think that if a good result has been obtained it is “better” and if a bad result has been obtained it is “worse”. It is a question of showing that oneself is independent of the results which one obtains because these can be influenced by multiple variables which are not only related to oneself. This should avoid comments such as “You have lost, you are useless”.

      3. Limit participation in decision-making

      The athlete should be able to decide, for example, on his training goals or conditions. The fact feeling that personal opinion is taken into account provides a positive feeling that can increase motivation and responsibility depending on the sport. We have to try to consult, where appropriate, the athlete’s point of view and try to reach a consensus with him.

      4. Set unrealistic results goals

      It is important that the goals are realistic. In fact, it is one of the bases for achieving a good goal. To maintain or increase motivation, it is essential that the goals are considered achievable and that the athlete himself believes he can achieve them. If at the beginning it arises too ambitious a goal and with which the athlete feels he will not thrive, it is difficult for motivation not to decrease.

        5. Promote negative feedback

        It should be noted that the athlete greatly appreciates the positive and encouraging comments. For this reason, focusing on the negatives can only bring down the mood. It makes sense to think that it is necessary to correct what has been done wrong, but it is important to recognize successes and encourage in any situation.

        6. Encourage a pattern of chronic dissatisfaction

        Everyone who is part of the athlete’s environment should take into account the athlete’s situation to avoid continuing with a pattern of dissatisfaction, if one exists. That’s why it’s important help the athlete see the positive aspects of their condition and does not support the negative point of view in any way.

        7. Avoid the principle of fair play

        The principle of fair play is the so-called “fair play”, that is to say competition based on respect for others and be aware that everything is not worth the effort in sport to achieve the goal.

        In this sense, if an athlete feels that his coaches and other referents encourage him to avoid “fair play” in order to obtain a better result, the motivation tends to decline, as he is encouraged to behave against the goal. one of the fundamental principles of sport.

        8. Perform routine workouts

        Monotony is wear and tear in athletes. The lack of new goals and the feeling of no progress decrease the motivation to play sports. It is important to promote improvements and reorient the athlete’s career from time to time.

          9. Recognize only the results, “success = victory”

          In the development of the athlete, it is necessary to make positive reinforcement in the whole process. It is a mistake to identify success only with victory in a competition as an athlete can succeed based on the achievement of other goals and objectives. This is why it is important to keep in mind that success also comes through small steps and to be aware that this does not always depend on yourself and your abilities.

          10. Prioritize competition over personal competition

          In sport, the most important is the athlete and his progression. Therefore, attention should be focused on him and his personal development. We cannot fight only to obtain a concrete result in the short term, but we must seek the change of athlete in the long term.

          11. Promote false causal attributions

          It is necessary to help the athlete to be aware at all times of the causes of his sports results. In this sense, we cannot make the athlete believe that his successes and / or failures always and exclusively depend on himself or, in the opposite case, on the environment.

          The important thing is to find a balance and show him that, in order to achieve a goal, his skills are as important as the external factors that can influence them. But always be realistic and objective at all times.

          12. Encourage any challenges to overcome

          We cannot make the athlete believe that all challenges are surmountable. We must help him to be aware, at all times, of his capacities but also of his limits. Above all, it is the limits that will condition the possible achievement of a goal. This is why it is important to be clear when we believe that no matter how hard you try, the goal will not be achieved.

          13. Encourage differences within the team

          Sports teams are groups of people who come together in a sport to achieve a common goal. This leads to group cohesion and identification. To maintain these characteristics which undoubtedly generate positive feelings, it is relevant to try to reinforce the similarities of the team members and not to focus attention on the differences.

          If we continually notice what separates the team it is easier for group identification to break down and therefore this individual and collective motivation decreases.

          14. Demand the exclusivity of the practice of sport

          Lyou athletes are still people with a personal and academic life parallel to sport. For this reason, and in particular among young athletes who have not yet chosen to devote themselves professionally to sport, it is important not to demand full involvement as this can exert excessive pressure and therefore generate attrition. All this leads to a decrease in the motivation not to find satisfaction in the practice of sport.

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