Motivating High School and Collegiate Athletes

May 2, 2013 | John Grace

State Champs

Professional athletes display a mix of personalities, but one commonality between them is that they all get paid to make great plays. Ultimately, their motivation is to consistently play their best for a more lucrative contract.

No one has to tell you that high school and collegiate athletes don't get paid. This makes their motivation different from what drives professional athletes.

Both coaches and athletes need to understand the concept of motivation. Athletes need to understand what motivates them so they can tap into it during practice or competition. Whereas, a coach will find it important to distinguish athletes who are highly motivated from those who need help.

Motivation comes in two forms:

  • Intrinsic— e.g., playing for the love the game
  • Extrinsic—e.g., performing to earn a reward

Motivations can change throughout a career due to the level of play, loss of interest or greater reward. Athletes who possess a higher level of extrinsic motivation often perform better when there is a reward of value.

Value does not necessarily mean monetary gain. Each athlete can have a different definition of "value." To one athlete, it could mean a coach's praise, to another a varsity letter, and to another it could mean a bunch of stickers on their football helmet denoting outstanding performance.

Athletes who possess a high level of intrinsic motivation are generally hard workers and require little outside motivation. They are the first ones in to training and the last to leave. They are the athletes who consistently ask: "What else can I do to get better?" 

Think of these as percentages. There aren't many athletes that will fully operate on just one type of motivation. (Learn more about how athletes stay motivated.) Maybe one athlete is 90 percent extrinsically motivated and 10 percent intrinsically motivated; another is 60/40. The extrinsic factors needed to motivate the first athlete may be greater than those motivating the second athlete, even though they are both extrinsically motivated.

High school and collegiate athletes often possess a greater level of intrinsic motivation; however, some still need a certain level of external motivation. Since high school and collegiate athletes can't be paid for their performances, creativity is important when finding sources of extrinsic motivation. Knowing your athletes on a more personal level is extremely important to help them achieve great performances.

Photo: spokesman.com

Featured Videos

Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 199,152
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 4: Skill Training Views: 399,519
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 77,649
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,374
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,224,126
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,531
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,921,057
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,202,163

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
How Athletes #WINFROMWITHIN: Strength and Speed Edition

How Athletes #WINFROMWITHIN: Strength and Speed Edition

Losing Fat: How to Stay Focused During the Holidays

Losing Fat: How to Stay Focused During the Holidays

4 Excuses Elite Athletes Never Make

4 Excuses Elite Athletes Never Make

How Athletes #WINFROMWITHIN: A Skilled Approach

How Athletes #WINFROMWITHIN: A Skilled Approach

10 Ways to Earn More Playing Time This Season

10 Ways to Earn More Playing Time This Season

Preparing for AAU Season: What You Need to Know

Preparing for AAU Season: What You Need to Know

How Getting Cut Taught Me The Meaning of Hard Work

How Getting Cut Taught Me The Meaning of Hard Work

Preparation Nation: Sierra Canyon Basketball

Preparation Nation: Sierra Canyon Basketball

What's the Most Effective Coaching Style?

What's the Most Effective Coaching Style?

The Reebok ZPump Fusion Is Like a Mold for Your Foot

The Reebok ZPump Fusion Is Like a Mold for Your Foot

How to Be a Quiet Leader

How to Be a Quiet Leader

The Hustle Stat: Aspects of Your Game that Catch the NBA's Eye

The Hustle Stat: Aspects of Your Game that Catch the NBA's Eye

Preparation Nation: Bishop Gorman Basketball

Preparation Nation: Bishop Gorman Basketball

Preparation Nation: Pulaski Academy Bruins

Preparation Nation: Pulaski Academy Bruins

Become Task-Oriented and Good Outcomes Will Follow

Become Task-Oriented and Good Outcomes Will Follow

5 Turkey Bowl Pre-Game Pep Talks, Cheers and Chants

5 Turkey Bowl Pre-Game Pep Talks, Cheers and Chants

Preparation Nation: Servite Friars

Preparation Nation: Servite Friars

Why You Need to Play Your Own Game

Why You Need to Play Your Own Game

Travis Kelce Could Be the Next Big Thing in the NFL

Travis Kelce Could Be the Next Big Thing in the NFL

Preparation Nation: Crespi Carmelite Celts

Preparation Nation: Crespi Carmelite Celts

How to Motivate Athletes to Train on Their Own

How to Motivate Athletes to Train on Their Own

SURVIVING SEALFIT: Finding the Silver Lining

SURVIVING SEALFIT: Finding the Silver Lining

6 Skinny Pro Athletes Who Dominate Their Sport

6 Skinny Pro Athletes Who Dominate Their Sport

Why Coaching Is More Important Than You Think

Why Coaching Is More Important Than You Think

5 New Looks to Check Out on Opening Day

5 New Looks to Check Out on Opening Day

8 Star Athletes Who Had to Walk On to Their College Teams

8 Star Athletes Who Had to Walk On to Their College Teams

How to Learn Pull-Ups (Or Anything Else for That Matter)

How to Learn Pull-Ups (Or Anything Else for That Matter)

Southlake Carroll Personifies Enduring State of Texas Football

Southlake Carroll Personifies Enduring State of Texas Football

Preparation Nation: Carter Cowboys

Preparation Nation: Carter Cowboys

Workout Motivation: Principles for Training Like a Champion

Workout Motivation: Principles for Training Like a Champion

Tips for Coaches at Youth Baseball Tournaments

Tips for Coaches at Youth Baseball Tournaments

Preparation Nation: Santa Monica Vikings

Preparation Nation: Santa Monica Vikings

7 Inspirational Athletes and Coaches Who Stand Tall

7 Inspirational Athletes and Coaches Who Stand Tall

WATCH: How 3 College Football Teams Make Workouts a Blast

WATCH: How 3 College Football Teams Make Workouts a Blast

3 Personality Traits for Creating a Winning Team Culture

3 Personality Traits for Creating a Winning Team Culture

5 NFL Players Who Were Never Supposed to Win Starting Jobs

5 NFL Players Who Were Never Supposed to Win Starting Jobs

Craig Breslow’s Path From the Ivy League to the Big Leagues

Craig Breslow's Path From the Ivy League to the Big Leagues

Franco Harris’s ‘Immaculate Reception’ is a #WinFromWithin

Franco Harris's 'Immaculate Reception' is a #WinFromWithin

Video Documents Man's Journey to 600-Pound Squat

Video Documents Man's Journey to 600-Pound Squat

How to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

How to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

7 Reasons to See ‘When the Game Stands Tall’

7 Reasons to See 'When the Game Stands Tall'

YardBarker