Tag Archive for 'motivazione'

Different flavours of motivation

Working with Parents in Sport


INFOGRAPHIC – ‘What motivates your children to play sport?’ What is motivating your children to play sport? Thank you to our friend @laramossman for producing this excellent graphic for our audience. https://buff.ly/3glY9Rp


Why to run the New York City marathon

The New York City Marathon is being run next Sunday, and after the registration restrictions of the pandemic years, the race director hopes this year to return to having 50,000 runners at the finish line. Forty percent of participants again come from abroad, which determines that the marathon is also a big economic event for the city, whereas last year the borders were closed and foreign athletes could not participate so there were only 30,000 participants.

Last year, a nonbinary category for runners had been introduced. This year, the top five finishers in this category will receive a cash prize. New York is the first of the six World Marathon Majors to add cash prizes for nonbinary runners. Other changes include having equalized the wheelchair race record prize to that of professional runners by increasing it from $7,500 to $50,000. In addition, there have been facilities regarding the nursery at the start at three points along the course and at the finish for women who need to breastfeed. These are changes that make the marathon increasingly inclusive.

The philosophy of the race is to represent a great day of sharing between runners and spectators. Each runner is suggested to have his or her name written on the jersey so that he or she can be nominated and encouraged by the spectators. However there will be tens of thousands of spectators along the entire route, with the exception of the Verrazano Bridge.

Much has been written about the reasons that motivate a person to run a marathon, and everyone has tried to provide their own reasons. It must be said that human beings are predisposed to long-distance running, which thousands of years ago was used for hunting. Now it is an activity that improves the perception of self-control through a challenge with oneself. It makes us better as it requires the tenacity to pursue a long-term goal through the performance of a weekly program. It also involves a change and improvement in lifestyle that should result in better self-care in relation to taking care of one’s body, sleep and nutrition. It is also an activity that for many is carried out in group in which one shares exertions, challenges and perhaps even moods due to injuries. Running is democratic; anyone can run and it can be done in any environment and weather.

For each person, these reasons may have different weights and some are more significant than others. In essence, a sense of pleasure prevails even if one started following the doctor’s advice or because a friend persuaded us to try it, those who overcome this initial phase and embark on a training path find at this point an individual gratification that sustains them over time and becomes a habit without which it becomes difficult to carry out the other commitments of daily life.

Personally, I run because I like to be outdoors, possibly in nature, to challenge myself, to organize my thoughts and meditate, to feel and know my body in the different ages I have experienced and am going through, to wait for fatigue to come and try to overcome it, for the memory of friends and experiences made in common and the solidarity that exists among those who run. So, happy running!


Free Bambino Che Gioca A Calcio Stock Photo

The best activity is one you like to do  (Photo by Lukas)

How to build motivation

American sprinter Michael Johnson, winner of five Olympic gold medals and eight times world champion, summed up the importance of motivation this way:

“My best motivation has always come from the sheer joy of running and competing, it’s the same thrill I get like I’m a 10-year-old kid. Have you ever met a 10-year-old who is nauseated by what he is doing? You have to find your initial motivation, which is why you will become an architect. This is the secret of perseverance.”

Sporting activity should enable the establishment of an attitude that can be summarized in the following sentence, “It is because of my commitment and the pleasure I take in it that I become better and better at what I do.” Activities motivated by an inner drive are based on the subjective perception of satisfaction derived from performing a given task. Therefore, any external intervention that tends to reduce this perception in the athlete will negatively affect his or her motivation. This is the case when an athlete strives only to receive a material (winning a trophy) or symbolic reward (“I’m doing this for my parents or coach who will be happy this way or because I will be more admired by my classmates”). Sport performance thus becomes merely a means to another end, which becomes, instead, the real end of the action: the young person does not act for the pleasure the activity itself provides him or her but to receive a certain recognition. Therefore, external reinforcements that encourage the athlete to attribute his participation to external motives reduce his internal motivation. Operationally, the coach should not make use of reinforcers that are perceived by the athlete to be more important than athletic participation itself, but should provide helpful suggestions to increase the sense of satisfaction the young person derives from the competitive experience.

Indeed, it has been documented that athletic achievements that are perceived as the result of personal internal factors such as skill, dedication, and commitment rather than external factors (luck, limited ability of opponents, favorable referee decisions) are associated with moods of satisfaction and pride.

However, the external reinforcements that an athlete receives also play a positive role. For example, with children who have not yet had any sports experience or with adults who have little sports experience. In such cases external reinforcements concerning the provision of sports equipment or gadgets, or social support derived from practice are elements that encourage participation. The same is true for economic rewards obtained by top athletes as recognition of their sporting value.

Every coach knows that setting goals is essential to stimulate motivation and improve performance. In this regard:

Working on defined and accepted goals helps improve the overall atmosphere and emotional climate of training. There is a reduction in problems related to tardiness, group laziness and lack of discipline.
Athletes, even the youngest, increasingly enhance their autonomy and learn to take responsibility for their own choices. Determination to achieve goals and to develop to their full potential is increased in this case
The coach’s leadership is accepted by the athletes through increased personal credibility;
Finally, despite the relevance that goal setting plays in increasing performance, there is also another reason that makes it necessary on the part of the athlete. For if sport and competition have a social value, consequently every individual has the right to succeed. Certainly in sport at the absolute level, the struggle for success is for the podium, and those who can aspire to this kind of achievement prepare themselves aware of the difficulties they will encounter along the way.

Then there is the success of everyone, of those who have set their goals properly and work hard to achieve them. Every person involved in sports has a responsibility to achieve for himself or herself personal success. This is the case of someone who wants to run the marathon in 4 hours; if he succeeds, he will have won his race.

Observing children engaged in sports activities not organized by adults should teach adults something very important, and that is that when they do not achieve the goal they have set for themselves, the children take it down a notch, learning from their mistakes and trying again. After a series of such adjustments and trials, success is guaranteed. The opposite happens when they succeed instead, they raise the level of difficulty of the goal. In other words, this means that in an almost spontaneous way young people modify their goals by always moving them to the limit of their possibilities. In this sense, mistakes are used as an integral part of the learning process and are not interpreted as failure.

The young motivation among fun, competence and competitiveness

All coaches are keenly aware of the close interaction between motivation and learning. However, motivation is a theoretical concept that cannot be directly observed and can only be hypothesized on the basis of athletes` behavior. In any case, knowledge of the motivational process is a crucial factor for any coach who wants to teach effectively.

The most important motivations recognized by young athletes are related to:

  1. competence (learning and improving their sports skills),
  2. fun (excitement, challenge and action)
  3. affiliation (being with friends and making new friends),
  4. team (being part of a group or team),
  5. competing (competing, succeeding, winning)
  6. physical fitness (feeling fit or feeling stronger)

Conversely, the main causes of decreasing motivation or quitting sports are attributed to: lack of fun, lack of success, competition stress, lack of parental support, misunderstandings with the coach, boredom, and sports accidents.

In summary, these are the three main needs that the athlete wants to satisfy through sports activity:

  1. to have fun, satisfies the need for stimulation and excitement;
  2. demonstrate competence, satisfies the need to acquire skills and feel self-determined in the activities performed; and
  3. to be with others, satisfies the need for affiliation with others and to be in a group.

With respect to the need for stimulation, it can be stated that:

  1. Success must be built by calibrating the program to be carried out with the athlete’s abilities and age.
  2. Training must be kept stimulating and varied.
  3. Every athlete must be active; athletes should not be allowed time to be bored.
  4. During training it is necessary to provide athletes with opportunities to perform challenging exercises.
  5. Athletes must be taught to identify realistic goals.
  6. During training, it is useful to establish times when athletes practice without being evaluated by the coach.

Regarding the need for competence, it is the task of the coach to stimulate both the child and the evolved player not only to learn specific sports techniques but, also, to develop a desire to progress and curiosity about themselves and the environment in which they act.

In this regard, the coach should remember that:

  1. Specific, difficult and challenging goals are more effective than specific but easy goals, goals defined in terms of do-your-best and non-goals.
  2. Athletes must possess a sufficient number of skills to achieve their goals.
  3. Goals are more effective when they are defined in behavioral, specific and quantitative terms than when they are defined vaguely.
  4. Intermediate goals must be defined and must interact with long-term goals.

As for the need for affiliation it is based on the need to belong to and be accepted by a group, thus establishing meaningful relationships with other team members. By satisfying the need for affiliation and esteem, the athlete experiences greater self-confidence and more control over situations that arise. In fact, every athlete and coach knows from experience that when there are communication problems between them, it is difficult to follow the training program that has been set.

The key points for meeting athletes’ need for affiliation and esteem can be summarized as follows:

  1. Listening to athletes’ requests.
  2. Understanding the expressed needs, orienting them within the annual training program.
  3. Establish the role of each athlete, setting realistic goals for each.
  4. Openly acknowledge the commitment placed in collaborating on group goals.
  5. Teach players to correct each other.
  6. Provide technical instruction and encourage personal commitment.
  7. Reduce competitive stress by reinforcing the importance of competing by doing one’s best and reducing the importance placed on the outcome.

In other words, the coach, in order to develop in his athletes i sense of belonging to that particular group, must show himself to be credible and consistent in his attitudes and behavior.

To be believable the coach must be honest with one’s athletes: young and old, experienced and inexperienced, starters and reserves. In this regard it is necessary to:

Share the technical program with the athletes, highlighting their skills and areas for improvement.

  1. Explain the reasons for techniques and strategies: they will be better remembered that way.
  2. Do not make promises, personally or indirectly, that you may not be able to keep.
  3. Answer questions with competence, sincerity, sensitivity.
  4. Avoid uttering phrases that might hurt the athlete’s esteem (e.g., “You will never be part of the top group). As an indication ask yourself, “If I were the athlete, would I want to hear this from the coach?”

Motivation is the king of team performances

How do we explain psychologically these sudden winning performances of Salernitana rather than Genoa but also the incredible games Real Madrid played against Manchester City, PSG and Chelsea. We know that it is motivation that determines the difference in play between teams but does one have to be on the brink of the abyss to feel motivated to react? Agatha Christie wrote that “A clue is a clue, two clues are a coincidence, but three clues make a proof.” Real Madrid’s 3 matches seem to confirm this approach. In fact, the only game lost at the Bernabeu was the one played with Chelsea having, however, won the away game. The motivation was not so strong to win at home because they were starting from a positive result while the other two were won as Real Madrid had to recover from two defeats suffered at home by their opponents. Of course, when we talk about reduced motivation, we are certainly not referring to that manifested by students when they are uninterested in listening to their prof. in school but to the lack of what Arrigo Sacchi calls the exceptional motivation, which is nurtured through an absolute desire to want to achieve the set result.

As far as Salernitana and Genoa are concerned, the difficulty of these teams and others in similar conditions is that they have not sought during the span of the championship a valid motivation to play matches with continuity, and in particular those against direct opponents fighting for permanence in Serie A. There are many issues that should be analyzed and that concern the role of the management, the coach and individual players in manifesting adequate and effective motivational levels. Staying within the framework of these last positive matches, I would say that the explanation lies in the encounter between the drama of the situation, relegation, and the need to attempt the impossible. Sometimes it works as one suddenly realizes that there will be no more opportunities available if one does not take advantage of the last remaining ones.

The competence motivation

To know what an individual’s conception of error is, we need to understand what is meant by competence motivation. It is an internal desire directed toward acquiring and exercising skills, whereby a child strives to develop basic motor patterns in order to respond adaptively to the demands of the environment. For an athlete, athletic learnings become a conscious way of evaluating oneself and one’s personal growth. Therefore, the concept of Self is shaped by these evaluations and those that relate to the other significant areas of learning in a young person’s life.

Based on these experiences, “motivation to succeed is fueled by assessment related to skill acquisition (learning goals) and skill validation (performance goals)” (Dweck and Molden, 2005, p.122). From an application point of view, it becomes necessary to understand the extent to which people use these two approaches and whether they give more importance to one over the other.

This way of reasoning depends on the conception one develops regarding one’s personal qualities. Does the individual consider them to be fixed or modifiable? For example, is intelligence a fixed trait? (“I either have it or I don’t.”) Or is it instead modifiable through learning? (“No matter the starting level, it can be modified through training.”). If one agrees with the first statement one uses the conception of the fixity of this quality, while if one agrees with the second statement one believes that skills can be improved through personal effort. The effects of this different approach are particularly evident in four areas: goals, commitment beliefs, explanation of difficulty, and effects on strategies (Dweck and Molden, 2005).

Which is your dominant motivation a migliorare?

Inter-Milan wins the team more motivated

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The role of the motivation in the athlete-coach relationship

The sport activity allows the affirmation of an attitude that can be summarized in the following sentence: “It is thanks to my commitment that I become better and better at what I do. Young athletes who will become champions are motivated by an inner drive that is fed by the subjective perception of satisfaction that they derive from performing a given task to the best of their ability.

Any external intervention that tends to reduce this perception will negatively affect the athlete’s motivation. This is the case when a subject is committed only to receive a material prize (win a trophy) or symbolic (“I do it for my parents or the coach so they will be happy or because I will be more admired by my classmates”). The sporting performance thus becomes only a means to achieve another purpose that is, instead, the true end of the action: the young person does not act for the pleasure that the activity itself provides, but to receive a certain recognition. Therefore, external reinforcements that encourage him to attribute his participation to external motives may reduce his internal motivation.

What the coach can do

Operationally, the coach should not use reinforcements that are perceived by the athlete to be more important than participation in the sport itself, but should provide useful feedback to increase the sense of satisfaction that the young person derives from the competitive experience. In this regard it has been documented that sports results that are perceived as the result of internal personal factors, such as skill, dedication, commitment, rather than external factors (luck, limited ability of opponents, refereeing decisions in favor) are associated with states of mind of satisfaction and pride.