Thursday, May 7, 2015

Marco Bitran: The Best 5 Methods to Improve Motivation in Sports


Motivation is one of the words that we hear constantly while watching matches on TV, listening to the speakers during the conferences or while giving advices to our players' parents. Many times we can hear professional players like Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic who say "how motivated" they were for the past few weeks to properly prepare for the incoming tournament. Is the motivation the reason of success of top players? How can we maintain motivation? What the motivation is?

Motivation is something that causes a person to repeat a given action or behavior. If we are motivated we put more effort into current activities as also we are able to work for a longer time. Motivation can be divided into 2 categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation comes within us and it is the most desired form that coaches try to develop among the players. Intrinsic motivation causes that we feel responsible for our actions and we can't skip given training sessions because we understand the value of it. Intrinsic motivation doesn't need any external rewards because the only reward is our conscience and self-assessment. On the other side we have extrinsic motivation that relies on rewards and values like trophies, money or goods. This form is popular while working with kids because small rewards help to get kids into the sport. When we are getting older intrinsic motivation should prevail to maintain constant development and deal with many obstacles on the road to success.

To become a really good tennis player we need over 10 years of quality practice to see if our skills are on the level to compete with the best players. It simply means that you have to cope with many difficulties for over 10 years and you still can't be sure if this work is enough to achieve your dream. Despite of working hard on the tennis court you have to also pay attention to your nutrition, conditioning as also to your mental skills. All these examples show how difficult tennis development is but there is much more than we see it. We have to travel to the different cities/countries to play tournaments, sacrifice family and friends as also make decisions than can have a big negative/positive impact on our future life. Without a strong motivation it is impossible to fulfill your potential and get the results that you deserve. Below you can find specific ways that will help you to maintain or rediscover motivation and play tennis with a real purpose:

Focus on performance

The worst mistake that many players do is focusing simply on results. Winning is important and can give a great boost of motivation but it is not dependent on you so you should think about some changes. Focusing on performance will help you to stay on track and find extra power even everything is going against you. Tennis is a long-term process so look at your game in the same way.

Appreciate your wins

Each win can provide a big injection of energy but we have to be aware of it. Too many players take each good match for granted so they don't get additional mental benefits from these actions. Instead of just advancing to the next round players have to realize that they hard work and dedication pay off right now.

Knowing that our win is the result of previous training sessions and dedications it is quite obvious that we are going to be more motivated for the next days or even weeks. Appreciate your win because it has more to offer than you can see at the first glance.

Lost matches can give you a lot

Another situation where players can get a lot of motivation is a lost match. Do you think I am crazy? No, it is real. Players perceive lost matches as something negative and this one game can have a detrimental effect on the next sessions and tournaments. Players don't feel worthy because they have lost to the lower-ranked rivals or to the friends they have beaten before. Remember that tennis is a sport of a current day so your previous records don't count. Approach these situations with a positive approach and use it as a motivational factor. Tell yourself "I will train really hard from now on to beat this guy next time" or "I lost to the guy who won the tournament but he was in my range of skills. If he can win tournaments I am more than capable to do the same!". This kind of approach will change the perception of the lost matches and it will help you to get benefits even if you are not in the next round of the tournament.

Use your imagery

Visualization is a common method that athletes around the world use to get an advantage over the rivals. Imagining correct technical performance or winning against top 10 players are examples of actions that all players can do to improve their game without spending any money. It is important to perform visualization consistently because mental skills are developed in the same way as any other - by repetitions. Our brain doesn't recognize if our experiences come from the real world or from imagery so there is a lot to get from this simple activity. 10-20 minutes a day spent on visualization in a calm place can boost your motivation more than anything so it is a big waste of opportunity if players don't do that. Use your brain!

Surround yourself with motivation

To change our thinking we should surround ourselves with positive people. To start eating healthy we should buy and surround ourselves with healthy products. The same way we can easily improve motivation in every day process. Put motivational quotes or images in the places you will be able to see often times during the day. Put it on your phone and see it every time you use your Facebook or check your emails. Put it next to your bad so you will think about motivation before you go to sleep. Put it wherever you want but make sure that it is visible and your eyes will "meet" this quote/image many times. Having this great environment is a big step towards making bigger effort every day and bringing your focus back on the proper track.

Check Tennis Island website ( for more inspirational and instructional materials. Over 1500 tennis drills, articles and video lessons from coaches with ATP/WTA experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment