Whether it’s teachers in the classroom, parents at home or coaches in their sport, what these leaders have in common is the desire to have their students, kids and athletes become more motivated to do things without being told.

What if I told you that it’s all our fault why they aren’t taking those personal risks?

I think people are naturally intrinsically motivated (meaning they act from a sense of control over their lives). At least we were when we were infants. No one had to tell us to try to move, explore, or try out things. And for sure no one had to tell us to S T R E T C H our potential to see what we can do!

What happened?

Rules happened. We began to bump into limits that were created by those in charge. Some of us turned docile, never rocked the potential boat again and only did what we sheepishly believed we could do AND the rest of us constantly stepped across the line and learned ‘deviant’ behavior.

By the time we as teachers or coaches get the former, they would only go as far as they told themselves and when we bump into the latter, they are too far gone to be coachable – they will always cross the line.

So what can we do to get whoever we meet to be more motivated to fit into whatever program you have going on?

Here are 1 thing you can adapt NOW

1) Throw away your control and grab positive instruction

No person likes being “controlled”. This happens especially in sports when a coach uses the threat of scholarship-reduction to control the behavior of an athlete. If the athlete wants to stay they will behave but believe me they won’t ever get to their potential. This tactic will absolutely decrease any kind of  internal desire.

Coaches can be negative or loud because that’s how they were coached and it had a good result. Here’s the truth. All any coach wants is the energy that the tactic produces, so why don’t we just keep it positive and instructional so we don’t have to worry if the tactic hurt someone or not. As a coach, just get over yourself and change your communication strategy.

Listen to how the 11-time NBA champion Coach Phil Jackson says this, “The more I tried to exert power directly, the less powerful I became…I learned to dial back my ego without surrendering my authority.”

TIP: Take away the visible control boundaries – punishments (but keep them in your head).

– Tell your athletes where you want the program to be in the future. Be specific and vivid. Talk about the fans, the gym/field atmosphere, the locker room dynamics, the practices etc.

– Tell your athletes why you recruited them. Tell them what you see as their potential not who they are now. Be specific and vivid often. Make sure you mention things they aren’t doing at the moment in the story so they can see an image of themselves to move towards.

– When correcting a behavior instead of always saying “No that’s wrong” in an tough manner, be more instructional and tell them where they got it right and how to progress better.

This is of course if you want to affect intrinsic motivation and tap into people’s full potential.

Why should you do this?

Because intrinsic motivation emerges from a mix of how the athlete PERCEIVES the program, you and their skill progress. Of course you can just scream forget intrinsic motivation and do your current reward/punishment thing! That could work too I guess but before you do that why don’t you watch the video below!


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