Motivation is a very personal feeling. It is not something that can really be taught or bought off the shelf. It’s driven by the feeling within each of us based on our past experiences and dreams for the future. A truly motivated person will do something because they really want to and not because there is a reward on offer.
The best coaches work with individuals to understand what their own motivation is and can draw that out of them to the best effect.
Motivating Rugby Players
Motivation is important in any sport because athletes must be willing to endure hard work, repetition, boredom, and often the pain in order to succeed. This is particularly so with rugby players, who face significant physical impact on the field every week.
Don’t ignore the mental factors such as focus and confidence, but do not as a coach think that is enough to succeed. To be the best one can be, an athlete must be motivated to do whatever it takes.
Don’t ignore the signs of low motivation. If someone is not giving 100 percent effort, whether on the training field of match day or showing less desire to practice, that’s the coach’s red flag to act now. Try to understand the underlying issue by talking to the individual. Don’t shame people, and don’t ignore them.
It is possible to put a sticking plaster on the motivation for the short term (“Just get through this game,”) but because motivation is so personal, do not be drawn into thinking that warning signs are anything other than that. As long as they are being exhibited, the athlete is at risk. Motivation must come from within, but support comes from the coach and the squad.
For more information on working through motivation for athletes, see Breaking Muscle online.
Finally, be prepared to recognize the desire in someone to do other things because even the greatest players will eventually decide to hang up their boots. Once the motivation is gone, there is little that can be done.