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Best Ways to Motivate

Rocket Fuel for Development
By: P.Dent K.Reynolds

Mental Tool Kit


Here is a taste of the fantastic work that Paul and Keith have put into their
 'Tennis Coach's Toolkit'

Motivation is not an easily understood term for coaches but in practical terms it revolves around the question why? For instance:

• Why does a player do what he does?
• Why he behaves in a certain way?
• Why he invests in tennis and enjoys playing matches?
• Why he does or doesn’t train hard?
• Why he’ll never give up in some matches, but throw the towel in during others?

Motivation represents the why behind a player’s behaviour in tennis and is therefore closely linked to sources that drive the player towards tennis, as well as what personal needs they satisfy through tennis.

Identifying Motivation

As opposed to the abstract term of ‘motivation’, it is a lot easier to understand the behaviours that come with a player who is motivated. These are typified by:

• A high intensity of effort
• A clear personal engagement in the sport at the expense of other options
• A clear direction of what the player is trying to achieve
• A high level of persistence in the face of setbacks (e.g. never gives up)
• A durability of investment in the sport over a long period of time

These are the behaviours in players that we love to see as coaches, but they depend to a great extent on what exactly is motivating or driving the player in the first place, or in their tennis environment or at that particular point in time.

• Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation


When a player is intrinsically motivated, the source of motivation or drive lies within the player. He is truly self-motivated and personally engaged in the task for its own sake.
The game itself is inherently interesting and rewarding enough to drive the player to ‘work hard’, persist, commit etc.


When a player is extrinsically motivated, some external source of value or significance to the player motivates him to engage in the sport (e.g. parents, money, friends, status).

These external sources can indeed motivate the player to work exceptionally hard (e.g. increasing your speed/effort on a treadmill when someone you like turns up next to you!).

However, when the reasons why a player plays tennis become totally external – controlling the player, yet out of his control – the player can lose all motivation to play if those sources are removed or fail to be satisfied (e.g. attention isn’t given by parents; friendships don’t materialise; status/money isn’t earned etc).

• Does motivation have to be either Intrinsic or Extrinsic Motivation? . .No
there’s something in between
• Motivation is not a black and white concept as some times is reflected
when people use the terms intrinsic ( internal) and extrinsic ( external) .
There are important shades of compromise in between. Intrinsic
motivation refers to doing an activity for the enjoyment and satisfaction gained from engaging in the activity . But involvement in performance tennis requires a lot of training and discipline which is not always enjoyable. As such, players cannot rely solely on intrinsic motivation and must, at times, turn to extrinsic motivation to pursue their training…

For £9.99 you can purchase the full 33 page article, click here.

This indepth article also includes a 'Coaching Commitment Checklist' and a 'Coaching Motivation Checklist'.

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