One of the long and hard thought questions of society is “What drives poeple?” Seemingly simple, yet one that can be thought about for generations and still not answered, and certainly not answered the exact same way for two people. It has long been generally accepted that motiviation, to some extent, must come from within the individual. There is nothing that I, as a coach, can say to athletes that will see the task that is before them completed all the way through. I can say things to help them discover a desire within themselves, but it still remains that something must come from them, or originate within them. However, that being said, we can certainly say things to help motivate athletes, and one of the arts of coachign is finding the right things to say to athletes to help find what motivates an athlete to work hard to become the best they can be.

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Coach John Shackelton of Villanova Basketball finds ways to prepare his athletes for lifts without even addressing them directly about the fact that they may not seem ready to workout. For example, if he senses that somone or a group of his players are not prepared or mentally turned on and ready to, he simply goes out with them for a quick mile tun to “wake them up” before the lift. After one of these runs, lifts are usually pretty energy fille dan effective, says Coach Shack.

This is just one example of motivation, and there are countless ways to inspire others, and the way to inspire may be different for every single athlete a coach comes into contact with. For instance, if a group of athletes are tired and groggy in the morning before a lift, some might respond posotovely to going for a 1 mile jog before they workout. Others may not, and may need to just get another 15 or 20 minutes of rest before they workout. Other, still, may need a talk from a coach or team mate to raise their energy level prior to the lift. These are just a few examples – but it goes without saying that there is no universal way to motivate athletes, or anyone, and that such an endeavor must be individualized.

Another thing that Coach Shack does very well is establish a set of core values and a mission statement – and does not let that change. This does not mean he cannot be flexible and understanding when it comes to giving athletes what they need, but the underlying principles that drive him remain the same. He states in the video below that he requires honest effort from all of his athletes – that is his principle and it does not have to change. However, what may change is, based on the circumstances and individual he is coaching, what an honest effort entails. A good coach needs to recognize all the different things going on with any athlete at any given point of any season, and that these (whether mental or physical) can affect that individual’s ability to give their all. While a good coach recognizes that and stops there, a great coach recognizes that and thinks outside the box to motivate their athlete to become better even on a day when they are not feeling it. While an all out effort may be different on an “off day” than on an “on day,” a great caoch can find ways to get an athlete to give their best for him or her self, the coaches, and the team as a whole, while recognizing when it is ok to take it down a notch an recover.

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