Although a coach may focus on training athletes and guiding them in the best techniques to improve performance, that is not the most important aspect of a great coach. The most successful coaches owe their success to the characteristic of being incredible motivators. Here are 2 of the most common motivational coaching techniques and tips on how to use them:
1. Purpose: To keep athletes focused on the big picture of a long-term goal, they must be instilled with a strong sense of purpose. Their role within a team should be well-defined. They must be made to feel that what they are doing is meaningful. This transforms athletes into motivational proxies who encourage teammates and inspire greater competitiveness. This is also an investment of time and greater effort on the part of a coach, but it is well worth it.
2. Incentive: Short-term goals are better met with an incentivized approach. Dangle the proverbial carrot to push your team farther, beyond what they think their stamina can endure. A sprinter, an aggressive offense, a strong defense can up their game exponentially for a brief period of time if the right reward is offered.
*College banners at Boston University are a constant source of motivation & pride
Developing Motivational Strategy: Coaching an athlete in proper technique is straightforward. Motivation, however, is where the mental game is played. Such a game plan has greater potential for success if an entire coaching staff and team are all part of the whole:
- Athletes: Clear communication between coach and athletes is a necessity. An open-door policy allows freedom for athletes to approach coaching staff and clarify any suggestions. Coaches who routinely engage with players create the opportunity for their athletes to offer their own input about how they and their teammates might perform better. An athlete's perspective is just as vital as a coach's expertise.
- Explain Why: It's not enough to simply tell a team member to do this or that or use a particular technique. Athletes should also understand the value of why that matters. Knowing this value leads to an athlete better appreciating the expertise and wisdom of their coach. When that type of relationship exists between a coach and an athlete, the athletes are highly motivated because they implicitly trust their coach.
- Appreciate Individual Effort: Whether this is done through formal recognition or a private chat, coaches need to let their athletes know that they appreciate their efforts to become better, stronger, faster and more competitive. This creates the opportunity to strengthen the bond of loyalty as athletes realize that a coach genuinely cares about more than just their bottom line performance.
- Inspire Team Effort: Just as important as recognizing the effort of the individual, team effort should also be recognized, as well as inspired. That is one reason spectators see athletics banners, pennants and flags waving throughout public competition events. The visual of a stadium filled with people recognizing not the individual athlete, but the team, inspires athletes to identify with the team effort and strive harder in their own unique role.
- Be A Role Model: The strongest motivator of all is for a coach to be the real deal. If you want your athletes to work hard, you need to lead by example. And this rule applies to every member of coaching staff as well. Accountability to quality of character and integrity must be maintained at all times if coaches want to inspire and motivate their athletes. The coach is the standard. The relationship between coach and athlete is the very heart of what ultimately affects any athlete's motivation.
If you are in need of motivational aids like team banners or flags, please contact us. Athletics banners can be so much more then just a generic banner with their team name emblazoned on it. The expertise of Accent Banner staff are standing by with tips for custom design ideas and assistance throughout the creative process.