How to Stay Motivated During a Grueling Sports Season

How badly do you want to achieve success in your sport?

Whatever your goal, success can sometimes be a long road. The key to achievement is maintaining focus and the motivation to continue to pursue your dream. When chasing a dream, everyone must face one question: "How much do I really want it?"

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Although your intentions might be admirable, sometimes your motivation might not be where it needs to be. You might lose sight of how much you really want to make the team, play at the next level, or whatever.

Even at the highest level, athletes can find it difficult to remain committed to the hard work required for their sport. Something that started out being fun and exciting can soon turn into a job. To develop the mindset of an elite athlete, it's important to surround yourself with the people and tools of a champion. It is OK to be a product of your environment as long as you are willing to completely change your environment to reach success.

Train Different, To Gain Different

One tool that elite athletes use for training motivation is "The Challenge." By challenging themselves, athletes set new tasks to master and avoid training boredom. Cross training is an excellent way to challenge yourself. Some athletes try yoga or MMA, while others take on indoor rock climbing or biking. Using unfamiliar training methods places demands on different muscles in different ways—the most important of which is the brain.

Another excellent way to ensure training motivation is to work with other elite athletes. Working out with athletes above your level is the best sort of peer pressure. Seeing how they train and how they push themselves forces you to push that much harder. Top athletes often work out together to stay motivated. Tips, tricks and techniques can be exchanged. Lifelong bonds can be forged. Training partners can help you on the days when you want to do anything else except sweat and train.

RELATED: How the Golden State Warriors Thrive on Team Motivation

Much training motivation comes down to head space. In other words "If Your Mind Ain't Right, Your Grind Ain't Right!" Continuing to develop your mental approach is important to remaining locked in on your goal. Besides thinking about training and your sport, get inside the heads of high achievers. Books, documentaries and even movies can re-energize and inspire you to stay the course.

Your environment, both mental and physical, can impact your performance and the ability to be at your very best. The right frame of mind can keep you motivated, and the right surroundings can affect that mind frame. The "Champion Mindset"—the mental approach of athletes who want to reach the highest levels—is what sets them apart from others.

RELATED: How to Motivate Athletes to Train on Their Own

Here are some tips to keep you motivated and "wanting it." They will encourage you to stay on the journey toward reaching your goals and help you to achieve your wildest dreams, both on the field of play and in life:

  1. The Journey: Reaching a goal is often a long road. Think about the different levels required to reach the professional or Olympic level in your chosen sport.
  2. Mentors/Coaches: The right teachers and coaches can propel you to new heights. Finding the right coach can accelerate your results. Even the greatest athletes you can think of have coaches and mentors. Great coaching provides a wealth of experience and knowledge that is key, regardless of your ability.
  3. Teamwork: Whether you play a team or individual sport, a "team" is important to your success. Your team is your support system. It might include your teammates, family members, friends, doctors and coaches. Each member of your team should contribute to making you better. Note that your team may have to change as you progress. Sometimes to reach the next level, you have to separate from those who hold you back.

So, how badly do you really want it? The answer should be along the lines of "more than anything."

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