How to Motivate Your Young Athlete to Get Better

Many parents contact us each week because they struggle to motivate their kids in sports or how best to motivate their athletes.

We receive many questions from sports parents and coaches, such as from this hockey parent who asked, "We know the talent he has is far greater than what he delivers. How do we motivate our child to have more heart and be mentally stronger?"

We believe that coaches and parents should understand the best ways to help their kids be motivated or how to instill self-motivation in their athletes.

More: How to Improve a Young Athlete's Attitude

Understanding Motivation

Motivation is the desire to achieve a goal. Athletes may be motivated to win a tournament, to play well or to improve their skills.

Motivation is the ability to commit to a goal and go after it with enthusiasm. Motivation is critical to achieve success in sports. Many top athletes attribute their success in sports to high motivation and continued commitment.

More: How Young Athletes Can Deal With Failure

What Motivates Athletes

The first step to improving your athletes' motivation is to know what gets your athletes motivated. You also need to understand what causes athletes to lose motivation and want to quit.

  • Kids who are motivated: 
  • Love to practice and compete 
  • Like to work on weaknesses so they can improve 
  • Get excited about competition 
  • Want to win and hate to lose 
  • Have high expectations for their performance 
  • Are dedicated to their sport 
  • Stay committed even when challenged 
  • Go after their goals with intensity

How are your athletes motivated to participate in sports?

More: Set Sports Goals You'll Actually Achieve
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About the Author

Dr. Patrick Cohn/Lisa Cohn

Award-winning parenting writer Lisa Cohn and youth sports psychology expert Dr. Patrick Cohn are co-founders of The Ultimate Sports Parent. Pick up their free e-book, "Ten Tips to Improve Confidence and Success in Young Athletes."

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