I’m sure all of us are looking for ways to inspire our athletes to achieve their highest potential. And I’m sure all of us agree that goal setting is an integral part to any successful season. Based on his TEDtalk, “Why We Do What We Do”, Tony Robbins gives us a “map” to properly motivating our teams. First, we have to give each individual a role on the team. Then we have to find out how to meet their emotional needs. Finally, we give them the tools to make their team experience positive. Read on to find out how!
3 Things Coaches Should Understand in Order to Motivate Our Teams
Three questions. Robbins says that every decision we make (Will I go all out in practice? Will I try something new and risk looking bad until I master the skill?) requires us to answer three questions. He calls them the Three Decisions of Destiny.
The first question is “What am I going to focus on?”. Let’s use “will I go all out in practice?” as our sample. We have to get our players to focus on how their effort will benefit their team and help the team get closer to accomplishing their goals. So rather than focusing on the pain they feel in working hard, their attention is on doing their part for the team.
The second question is “What does it mean?”. Going all out in practice means verbally supporting one’s teammates, giving complete physical effort, and being willing to do whatever they’re asked by the coach.
The third and final question is “What am I going to do?”. To make sure they go all out each practice, they will eat healthily, get plenty of sleep, and remain focused on their sport during practice times.
6 Human Needs.
We all are motivated by these six emotions/needs/beliefs…it’s the coach’s job to find out what button to push for each student-athlete.
The 1st need is certainty. There are some things that our players need to know without a doubt: For example, the coach is knowledgeable, fair, and caring.
The 2nd need is uncertainty. I know that seems to contradict the first, but I don’t think it does. While some things should be set in stone, others like playing time and the starting lineup shouldn’t be certain…otherwise our starters will become complacent and the non-starters will be apathetic.
The 3rd need is critical significance. Our teams should have a compelling reason for coming to the gym every day…and it’s our job to give it to them.
The 4th need is connection and love. We all want to feel like we belong to something special and that there are folks out there who care about us.
The 5th need is growth. If a player feels that they weren’t given the opportunity to get better (with skill, with leadership, with self-awareness), why come to practice every day?
The 6th need is the ability to contribute beyond ourselves. Whether it’s team community service, sacrificing personal goals to help the team win a significant victory, or challenging your seniors to leave their mark on the team…we’ve got to give our players the ability to make a difference.
Becoming influential. So we’re still using our sample question, “will I go all out in practice?”, as the example for this goal setting technique. In this final step of the motivation process, we help our athletes create a positive situation for themselves. We should ask them what their target is…meaning what do they hope to accomplish by going all out in practice (respect from peers, etc.)? Next is to find out what their belief system is…will they stoop to gossiping and backbiting a teammate in order to get to “connection and love”? Finally, we have to find out what fuels each athlete. Robbins says that each of us has a dominant human need (certainty, critical significance, etc.) and the player’s goal has to feed that need.
Check out the video if you get a chance and see if you can put your own sports spin on things…it’s well worth the watch!
Dawn Redd is the Head Volleyball Coach at Beloit College. Come visit Coach Dawn’s community of coaching nerds and team leaders over at her blog,
http://www.coachdawnwrites.com”>http://www.coachdawnwrites.com, where she teaches how to become an excellent coach, motivate individuals, and build successful teams.
Her book, Coach Dawn’s Guide To Motivating Female Athletes, is available for purchase on her website.