I am continually asked by coaches and parents, “I’ve got this really talented kid. If he applied himself, he’d be great! But the problem is that he doesn’t seem to care. It really frustrates me, cuz I don’t know how to motivate him!”
Unfortunately, the problem with many of these motivational issues is that they can’t be resolved from the outside, in! That is, the motivation to train and work hard must come from inside the athlete, rather than from the outside, i.e. from the pushing of his/her coach and certainly not from the demands and pushing of his/her parents!
Motivation is a personal thing and is most powerful when it flows straight from the athlete’s heart. What drives you to achieve should always belong to you. You must have total ownership of it. When you’re working towards a goal because YOU want to and it’s YOUR goal, your drive and persistence will be that much stronger and longer lasting than if you were working to please someone else.
If you as an athlete are having trouble sustaining your drive and motivation, if you’re continually running on empty, motivation-wise, then the very first question you must ask yourself is “WHO am I doing this for?” If the answer that you come up with involves making other people happy or getting them to love or be more proud of you, then you have got the wrong source of motivation!