Target Your Motivation

Mar 02, 2017

Imagine what is possible if you were able to free yourself from doubts and fears. Allow yourself to dream big and imagine how successful you could be at your sport. Dream goals let you explore unlimited possibilities and strive to achieve your maximum potential. As long as you can envision that your dream is possible then you can challenge the impossible. Write down your dream goals and explore these strategies to help you move towards achieving your dreams.

Motivation is the difference between training for a sport and just working out. When you train as an athlete, you look for progress fueled by a desire to be successful. Working out with no direction is not goal oriented and does not encourage room for improvement. You may have several motives for participating in sport – fun, improved skill or fitness level, perceived excitement, being with friends (new and old), and winning or perceived success. All of these reasons help create an environment for you to value achievement.

In a mastery motivational climate, your valued behaviours are self-referenced towards learning, effort, and improvement. Mistakes are viewed as part of the learning process. You should develop an environment where sport skills are challenging and different to you. Taking an active part in choosing exercises is a good step towards making your training your own. Positive encouragement from coaches and teammates is also important in this setting. This helps you make sure you take time to develop skills at your own pace. To have all these aspects part of your athletic environment you need to TARGET your training using tasks, authority, recognition, grouping, evaluation, and timing.

Tasks (optimized challenges)

Your sport skills and exercises should include variety so your body does not adapt. Constantly challenging yourself with new activities will help you develop into a better athlete. By breaking a skill down to a step-by-step process, you focus on the progress, experience success, and become more confident in your ability. Understanding that progress is important to get you towards your goal helps you understand your sport better.

Authority (player choice)

You should be involved in making decisions towards your training routine. Coaches appreciate ideas and suggestions from athletes to create a workout that is challenging and motivating. By being part of the decision-making process, you are in control of your own dream. This creates a feeling of confidence to achieve anything with the right attitude and support staff.

Recognition (reinforcing effort)

Seek feedback from both your coaches and teammates. This positive encouragement should be goal directed and include things like hard effort, good improvement, and points earned. An enthusiastic climate and positive thinking can help athletes improve their achievement levels. Keep the recognition within the team to maintain a cooperative environment with personal achievement.

Grouping (cooperative teamwork)

When working in small groups, surround yourself with teammates that are both highly skilled and challenged by the activity. If you feel like you have mastered a skill, teach another so you understand the importance of hard work and focus. On the other hand, be open to receiving instruction and praise from a teammate if you find an exercise hard. When you are in a group with a variety of skill levels, foster cooperation while still remaining competitive.

Evaluation (assessing improvement)

Keep your evaluation self-referenced, based on personal improvement, progress toward individual goals, participation, and effort. Keeping this focus enhances your improvement and skill mastery. Being confident in your skills increases intrinsic motivation, self-determination, and persistence to excel by using self-observation, self-judgement, and self-reinforcement. These processes are ways to monitor your behaviors for progression toward skills, comparing your current performance with your goals, and reacting positively or negatively about progress toward goal achievement.

Timing (adequate time for learning and improvement)

It takes time to master a skill. You could be successful before your teammates or others may be before you. If you do not feel confident with a skill during practice, ask your coach to stay after and work with you. The best athletes fine tune skills outside scheduled practice time to be sure they are ready to compete.

These TARGET concepts for a training program emphasize individual challenge, short-term goals, individual skill improvement, and self-referenced success. Maintaining this training environment improves concentration, enjoyment, loss of self-consciousness, learning climate, perceived competence and increases persistence in challenging situations. From a motivational perspective, these factors maximize your abilities and skill level, will define success according to self-referenced criteria, will help you maintain a positive attitude toward physical education and remain physically active later in life

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