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Motivation Matters: Getting the Real Win

What motivates people in sports? The players, coaches and – at the youth level – parents, who put so much time, effort and even money into a game?

For me, it’s a fascinating question, with so many varying answers. With the media portraying such glitz and glamor, it’s easy to see why people can be motivated by the possibility of money and fame. So let’s step back and emphasize the basics. In premier soccer, there is an intense focus on winning, which is important, of course. But the end game is about much more than any individual game or season.  At the youth level, the focus can’t just be all about winning.

Winning is a by-product of everything players and teams must do to achieve that goal – such as learning to execute under pressure, as well as having fun, working hard and developing teamwork.

If young players crave the bright lights of professional sports, they must commit themselves to doing what it takes to get there. The behind-the-scenes work is not glamorous, and is often invisible. Scholarships, accolades, fame, contracts and money are all rewards for players who continually strive to do all of the small things right. That should be the ultimate motivation of ambitious young players, because without that mindset, the highest levels of play will remain elusive.

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