Athletes are given “Motivational” speeches constantly. They are told they need to get pumped up, ready to play, focused, and mentally prepared. When coaches and athletes are interviewed clichés are spewed out in rapid-fire fashion. These constant clichés have become tired, and as a result, have lost their intrigue. Throughout my day I get asked constantly how to “Motivate” athletes and what it is that uncovers the deep well of energy that lies within people, athletes included? I believe one important component is PERSONALIZED FEEDBACK.
Personalized feedback contains information specifically designed for the individual athlete that descriptively, clearly, and concisely creates a picture for the athlete concerning what they can do to improve themselves. This message can contain a descriptive message of something they did that was positive as well. Motivation is unleashed when it can be engaged in clearly defined actions that lead to results. When we communicate using tired clichés broadcasted to teams and groups with no personalization we leave people wondering and confused about what to do next. We are then shocked when our players play tentatively, without emotional intensity and engagement. Is it any wonder why athletes are disengaging and moving towards activities that allow them to be in control? We are unintentionally conditioning them to be disinterested in what is said to them because of the irrelevance of our messages.
I have learned that athletes are hungering for quality feedback they in turn can take and utilize to create success. We simply need to stop communicating in lazy, tired, and impersonal ways. Here are the ingredients of a Personalized Message:
- Descriptive: the message clearly paints a picture for the athlete to grasp onto.
- Clear: the message needs to leave no room for confusion. The clearer a person is, the greater degree of energy they will release.
- Concise: the fewer the words the better. We lose the mental energy of our athletes when we repeat ourselves without adding quality content to our message.
Using this as an outline will help you re-engage those that have become disinterested in your messages and could help unleash a flow of energy that may have been lacking for months or possibly years.
I would love to hear your challenges and victories around your work with athletes!