Motivation is derived from the Latin word movere, meaning “to move.” It is “the tendency for the direction and selectivity of behavior to be controlled by its connections to consequences, and the tendency of this behavior to persist until a goal is achieved.” (Anshel, 1948) An athlete with motivation is energized to participate in a purposeful and meaningful task. Motivation is fueled by motives, which are an individual’s anticipation of reaching a goal. The purpose of motivation is to prolong desirable feelings and actions of athletes. (Straub, 1984) Athletes are motivated because they want to improve their performance in a sport. Athletes can improve their motivation by engaging in activities that they find pleasant and have realistic expectations for some success. Motivation can be found in personal characteristics that foster ambition, as opposed to just personality type as many would assume. Personality type contributes to the amount of motivation in an individual but it is only a part of the combination needed for the highest level of motivation. Certain personal characteristics may be combined with other factors in an individual’s environment to increase motivation. (Anshel, 1948) Motivation is based on success and failure, and how an athlete reacts to these instances. The many types of motivation affect athletes in various ways, depending on their current levels of motivation and their reaction to the events in their life.
An athlete’s drive to improve in order to satisfy their own personal needs is classified as intrinsic motivation. (Anshel, 1948) This concept helps explain why people engage in activities for no obvious reward. The athlete wants to feel competent and be self-det...
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... Inc., 1995) Frequent decrease in intrinsic motivation results in amotivation, which is why athletes need to focus on internal success rather than external. When this happens it may result in burnout, mental withdrawal, and eventually quitting the activity. Another issue with motivation is that an athlete may be completely intrinsically motivated in their sport, but their body cannot handle the harsh physical demands. This may result in failure to meet goals even though the athlete put in the right effort. The athlete then has to either play the sport because they enjoy it and not for competitive reasons or quit altogether. Not every athlete can compete at a high level in every sport. Along with motivation comes realistic expectations and limitations. Motivation levels are a key in athletics, but they can only take an athlete so far when physical limitations exist.
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