4 Tips for Maximum Motivation and Productivity
Performance psychology is the branch of psychology interested in the variables that impact and mediate peak human performance. Naturally, athletes have a strong interest in these findings, particularly with respect to how they can improve their athletic performances by strengthening their mental toughness.
Accelerating performance often provides a direct, inverse relationship with sports burnout (meaning the more mentally tough, the less likely for exposure to burnout). For kids, it is especially important for parents and coaches to mentor and guide a lot at the beginning, but as they learn these skills before long they will need little, if any additional help as it applies to their preparation for success.
- Set specific goals with targets and deadlines. When student athletes know exactly what is expected of them and can see an end-date in sight, it provides many important elements related to success. First, they specifically know the tasks in front of them and the timeline to complete. Second, an end deadline allows them to see that even in the worst of seasons it will eventually end, eliminating feelings of hopelessness and despair (traits often found in burnout). And finally, with each new goal attained confidence grows, and confidence is directly linked to performance enchantment.
- Offer positive reinforcement throughout the season. Emphatically saying “great job!” and offering other positive words of encouragement doesn’t cost anything, but the return is often immeasurable. Studies regularly show that receiving genuine positive reinforcement helps improve attitude, motivation, focus, and resiliency, making it an important tool to use when helping guide kids through the challenges of sport (and life).
- Provide breaks along the way. One big reason why kids lose their motivation is when they feel like the days all run together and that there is no end in sight. It’s that feeling of hopelessness that chips away at human potential and actually leaves people exposed for poor coping behaviors to offset the stress of never getting a break. Try to find opportunities to set sports aside for a day (or weekend), and consider taking even longer breaks off if/when you can.
- Have FUN! Too often we forget that our best performances in life are when we become so engrossed in the activity that it is no longer viewed as “work,” but instead an activity we love to do! In fact, getting in the zone (or Flow) occurs when our intrinsic motivation is high, as is our interest level for doing the activity. Remember, it’s not only OK to laugh and joke, but it’s an essential part of peak performance!
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