Thought you might like to check out a little teaser from my new book! This is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of On Top of Your Game:
Some athletes contact me because they are thinking about quitting their sport; they aren’t seeing the results they are used to seeing, they aren’t having fun anymore, and it’s affecting their motivation to train and compete. When you have been dealing with performance anxiety for a while, it can begin to take a toll on your motivation. I’ve had athletes and parents of athletes that start to question whether or not it is even healthy for them to continue in their sport when it is causing so much angst. You can start to question whether or not it is even worth it to compete, but you keep going back because there is a part of you that still loves your sport. More often than not, when you learn to manage your anxiety and your performance starts to turn around, your motivation starts to turn around as well. I’ve worked with countless athletes on the verge of quitting that end up regaining their motivation and passion for their sport. Many even come back and have the best season of their lives because they now have the tools they need to manage their anxiety. But is it the chicken or the egg? Do you need to improve your performance in order to be motivated or do you need to be motivated in order to improve your performance? The answer is – both. Working on the exercises at the end of this chapter will help you re-connect with your inner drive (a.k.a., working on your motivation to improve your performance). Working on the exercises in the subsequent chapters will help you manage your anxiety (a.k.a., improve performance and enhance motivation).
If you completed the Peak Performance Vision tool from the last chapter you will have a glimpse into your inner drive. Having that internal motivation is a powerful foundation to work from, but because it’s natural for your motivation to ebb and flow, you need some other tools to fill in the gaps. There are different types of tools to help with different types of motivational issues. I find that there are three different categories that these tools fall into: motivation, inspiration, and commitment. Motivation starts you on your path, inspiration keeps you going, and commitment gets you to the end. Tools for motivation help you discover why you do it – what drives you to participate in your sport? These tools can help you assess your level of motivation and your sources of motivation. However, sometimes we don’t need to assess our global motivation; sometimes what we need is some rejuvenation, a little fire in the belly (or a little kick in the butt!). In those circumstances what you need are tools for inspiration, like the high school swimmer that has to get up and train in the early morning hours before school, or the triathlete with a full-time job that has to find time to train for their Ironman race. These tools – motivation, inspiration, and commitment – can help us reconnect with our own inner drive. They help rekindle the passion you already have for your sport. Other times you need tools that help with determination and discipline – ways to help with commitment to your sport and your goals. These are tools that will be covered in the next chapter. The tools in this chapter will help you access your inner drive and give you the inspiration you need to both increase your motivation and get it moving in the right direction.
Chapter 2: Take-Aways
- Motivation affects every aspect of training and performance. When you work on your motivation, you are working on the foundation of your performance.
- Having a strong inner drive will help you to meet challenges head on, keep you on track towards your goals, and enhance your enjoyment of your sport.
- External motivators can be complimentary as long as you have a strong internal motivation and you don’t perceive the external motivators to be in control.
- It’s normal for your motivation to fluctuate and change over time, but a dip in motivation is also a sign you should pay attention to. Being able to diagnose why your motivation is low will help you choose the right tools to address it.
- When you feel capable, in control, and connected, it will positively influence your motivation. Having these factors helps increase both your effort and your enjoyment of your sport.