Motivate youth football players
Coaches devote all of their effort to devising practice programmes for their teams. They are there for athletes who have issues and do their best to be fair while helping them to a successful season. That is not an easy task for any coach.
You pour your heart and energy into these kids, but with their clear lack of motivation, it’s as if they forget they’re even on a football team. Horseplay, moaning, or simply not being focused on practices are ways it manifests itself.
If you coach teen and preteen football players, you know what I’m talking about. What can coaches do in this situation?
To begin with, no one can motivate someone else, and we can only assist others in identifying and connecting their motivation to the task at hand. How often have you worked with a gifted athlete who was simply uninterested in honing their skills? It’s something I hear from parents when I deal with young athletes one-on-one.
My suggestion is to start each season with a quick poll of the players, either in person or on paper, asking them to outline their reasons for wanting to play football and be a part of the club. The secret is to refuse to accept generic responses, which you will almost certainly receive, and solicit specifics from them.
For example, you will almost certainly receive the following responses:
to enjoy oneself
build new pals
to achieve my objectives
The issue with those broad reasons is that they lack emotional resonance. Motivation is a feeling that drives people to do action. When there is a lack of emotion, there is a lack of effort.
For “fun,” consider this: What do you enjoy about football? When do you think you have the most fun?
You’re looking for responses to questions like tackling people, creating a perfect play by doing your job, pushing folks out of the way, being proud of being in shape, being a distinctive football player, etc.
For “friends,” inquire what aspects of having teammate buddies you enjoy the most. What makes it different from buddies who aren’t sports fans?
You’re looking for specific responses like chest bumping after a nice play, getting each other pumped up before a game, teaming up to take the opponent out of a play, etc.
Ask, “What specific aim do you wish to attain this year?” for “goals.” What motivates you to reach that goal? What does that mean for you?
Try to be as clear as well, such as “I want respect and admiration from my coach/parents/teammates… I want to be prepared to compete at the next level next year.”
The details that help players paint their visions and feel the emotions they want to think about will keep them motivated throughout the season.
When you see a lack of motivation in an athlete, take out their causes and remind them of them. Rekindle the emotional rewards they agreed to get. Delegating this duty to assistants and parent assistance would be ideal.
It’s important to remember that a child’s brain is not fully matured, even a teenager’s. The brain region that deals with delayed gratification is the last to develop fully, and it doesn’t usually happen until people are in their 20s. You can fill that void.