Embodying Motivation

November 18, 2013

Art+and+Science+of+CoachingThe Sparta Point blog has been all about the role of coaches in creating a great training culture, and providing results for athletes. We have talked about how every program's most important asset is its people. Specifically the coach's initial role in programming by creating a framework, which is then followed by teaching the athlete how to move. Today we will go into the final component of coaching which is all about motivation.

Foundations for Motivation

We have already discussed the two foundations for motivation; accountability and self-efficacy. Accountability is the personal responsibility to take ownership of your efforts. Self-efficacy is the positive mindset that your efforts are yielding the desired results. Together, these two characteristics build the foundation of a highly motivated training culture. With that said, the most important part of motivating others is to be motivated yourself. This is called motivational leadership. If you are motivated to work hard and pursue excellence in everything that you do, and you care deeply about the success of your athletes, this will be obvious to them and they will follow your lead. Sometimes the bast way to become a better motivator is to look in the mirror and evaluate your own life.


A credible coach is someone who is convincing or believable. Their actions and appearance match their words and message. Have you worked to accomplish what they are working to accomplish? Do you represent the physical qualities that you are developing with your athletes? Do you display the dedication to training nutrition and recovery that you preach? For better or worse, most athletes will make very quick judgements about your credibility. The best way to earn their respect is to "look the part".


Trust follows credibility as the second key to motivation. Trust is based on the athlete's belief that the coach is the most qualified individual to help them reach their goals. A proven track record of results is one of the best ways to gain an athletes trust. A quality explanation of "why" is also a key in gaining an athlete's trust. Once trust the intent they will begin to work with a shared vision, and incredible intensity. If your team is lacking effort, maybe you need educate them on the "why" in order to increase the trust of your athletes.

The Process of Progress

Training is a process that will have many challenges. When progress is slow everyone has two choices; they can either give up and blame others or they can dig in and continue to put in the hard work. Success breeds success, and it is important to create opportunities for athletes to celebrate by small victories that will fuel future investment. Tracking results and displaying progress through objective measurements is critical for building the mentality of self-efficacy that leads to motivation.

Motivation is about credibility, trust, and progress. This ultimately develops a positive mindset that hard work will produce results. Every coach has a different style of motivation and leadership, but it always comes back to caring about the success of your athletes and a desire to help them reach their goals. In order to motivate others, you must be motivated yourself. The proving ground for these characteristics starts in your own life. If your athletes lack motivation the first step should be to examine your own life instead of just cranking up the music and yelling a little louder.

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