Mental Skill #1 - Motivation

Unlock Your Mental Game Through Motivation

“You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours”

Herb Brooks

Motivation is the driving force behind the dedication, hard work, and perseverance that athletes exhibit in their pursuit of performance excellence. It is the internal and external factors that inspire and energize you to commit to your sport, set goals, and overcome challenges. Motivation plays a crucial role in enhancing performance, maintaining discipline, and fostering a growth mindset. Understanding the types of motivation, its sources, and ways to cultivate it can be beneficial for athletes, coaches, and sports enthusiasts.

Types of Motivation

Intrinsic Motivation: Intrinsic motivation stems from your internal desire to participate in an activity for the sake of personal enjoyment, satisfaction, or fulfillment. You are intrinsically motivated if you participate in sport because you love it, enjoy the challenge, like to master your skills, and take pride in your accomplishments.

Extrinsic Motivation: Extrinsic motivation is driven by external factors, such as rewards, recognition, or the avoidance of negative consequences. If you are extrinsically motivated you may be driven by the desire to win trophies, receive praise, or avoid criticism and social comparison with and from others.

Sources of Motivation - Motivational Drivers

Achievement Motivation: The desire to excel, achieve goals, and demonstrate competence is a powerful motivator. This can include the pursuit of personal records, winning competitions, or mastering new skills.

Mastery/Play Motivation: The desire to improve, learn, and grow as an athlete can be a strong motivator. Focus on personal development, embrace challenges, and view setbacks as opportunities for growth and you are likely to stay motivated longer.

Competition Motivation: The desire to compete 110% at everything you do, both inside and possibly outside of sport. Competition is the driver of your motivation. Focus on competing with yourself in everything you do.

Social Motivation: Interactions with teammates, coaches, and supporters can significantly influence an your motivation. Positive relationships, encouragement, and a sense of belonging can foster motivation, while negative interactions can hinder it.

Strategies to Enhance Motivation

Goal Setting: Establishing specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals can provide you with a clear sense of direction and purpose, helping to maintain motivation. Have daily goal(s) to remain process focused and have a growth mindset. Remember a lot of little progress adds up to big progress over time.

Self-Determination: Take ownership of your training and development will foster intrinsic motivation. Having choice, autonomy, and opportunities for self-reflection will help you feel more motivated and engaged in your sport or activity.

Positive Reinforcement: Recognizing and rewarding effort, progress, and achievement can boost your motivation. This can include verbal praise, tangible rewards, or celebrating milestones and accomplishments with teammates and supporters.

Growth Mindset: When you live with a growth mindset, you view challenges as opportunities for learning and improvement, and this enhances your motivation. Focus on progress rather than perfection and embrace setbacks as part of the process can also help maintain motivation and keep it burning for longer periods of time.

Social Support: Building a supportive network of teammates, coaches, and family members, and other supporters will help you stay motivated. Encouraging open communication, collaboration, and a sense of belonging can foster a positive environment that promotes motivation. Who is in your support network.


Motivation is a critical component of athletic success and personal growth. By understanding its types, sources, and strategies to enhance it, you can create a supportive environment that fosters motivation and drives performance.

Key Take Aways:

  1. Know your motivation profile. What motivates you……Internal factors, external factors or both? What are the factors?

  2. Know your sources of motivation. What source(s) of motivation do you gravitate to.

  3. Know what strategies motivate you the most. What strategies motivate you? Setting goal(s), social support, mental skills, using your support team, etc?

Reflective Moment

What motivates you as an athlete and how does it contribute to pursuit of performance excellence?

“If you only ever give 90% in training then you will only ever give 90% when it matters.”

Robert Owens
Do you want help tapping into your motivation?

For more information or to set up your own session with a Certified Mental Performance Consultant to help you build your own motivational profile and plan, click on the button below for a free intro session.