Motivation is the foundation of all athletic effort and accomplishment. Without your desire and determination to improve your sports performances, all of the other mental factors, confidence, intensity, focus, and emotions, are meaningless. To become the best athlete you can be, you must be motivated to do what it takes to maximize your ability and achieve your goals.
Motivation, simply defined, is the ability to initiate and persist at a task. To perform your best, you must want to begin the process of developing as an athlete and you must be willing to maintain your efforts until you have achieved your goals. Motivation in sports is so important because you must be willing to work hard in the face of fatigue, boredom, pain, and the desire to do other things. Motivation will impact everything that influences your sports performance: physical conditioning, technical and tactical training, mental preparation, and general lifestyle including sleep, diet, school or work, and relationships.
The reason motivation is so important is that it is the only contributor to sports performance over which you have control. There are three things that affect how well you perform. First, your ability, which includes your physical, technical, tactical, and mental capabilities. Because ability is something you are born with, you can’t change your ability so it is outside of your control.
Second, the difficulty of the competition influences performance. Contributors to difficulty include the ability of the opponent and external factors such as an “away game” crowd and weather such as temperature, wind, and sun. You have no control over these factors.
Finally, motivation will impact performance. It is also the only factor over which you have control. Motivation will directly impact the level of success that you ultimately achieve. If you are highly motivated to improve your performances, then you will put in the time and effort necessary. Motivation will also influence the level of performance when you begin a competition. If they’re competing against someone of nearly equal skill, it will not be ability that will determine the outcome. Rather, it will be the athlete who works the hardest, who doesn’t give up, and who performs his or her best when it counts. In other words, the athlete who is most motivated to win.