What is motivation?
Motivation is the fulcrum on which your sports career hinges.
Motivation is an internal stimulus that spurs you to deliver an effective performance. Motivation creates within you a readiness to take on a challenge. Motivation completes you to do your best. Motivation gives you a reason and purpose to focus your mental energies on.
The inclination, drive and inspiration to go out there and deliver your best are almost entirely dependent on your motivation levels. Sports professional deliver their motivation from strong aspirations. In motivated individuals the mind body connection that they are able to establish helps them in using their physical energies to optimum levels in dealing with competitive challenges. The mind body connection can happen subconsciously for some athletes. But for others the connection can only be sustained if they consciously train themselves using mental preparation techniques.
Characteristics of motivated athletes:
• Motivation gives an athlete the ability to work hard and strive for constant improvement in technique and style.
• A motivated athlete is focused on learning and executing his or her game to perfection.
• With a willingness to learn new skills, personal effectiveness can reach a peak and the grappler or combat will be able to fully utilize his or her inherent potential.
• A motivated person is able to work within a tough competitive environment to play his or her best game and further personal goals.
Motivation and moral are interrelated. Without motivation, moral declines and performance erodes since the person goes about the game in an aimless and rudderless manner. In a demotivated person, the mental energies are too low for the player to raise to the challenge and pack a punch in his/her delivery. Such a person may also harbor feelings or antipathy and antagonism leading to misdirected aggression. Many of these demotivative factors may actually be in your mind and in reality you may be physically fit, well trained and competent enough to take on the challenge but your mind holds you back.
Some reasons for a drop in motivation are:
• When the reward (that you get by winning) does not satisfy you
• When your performance is not appreciated to the extent that you expect
• When you have not had a decent win in the last few tournaments
Do you find yourself thinking along these lines? If yes, then you may have lost the internal stimulus that keeps your mind in an enthused state and you have to seek out your motivators once again. Let’s first take a look at some contemporary principles of motivation and based on these principles, arrive at the various motivators for grapplers and combat athlete. And within these motivators, you may find your own motivator once again!Contemporary motivation principles:
Research in the area of motivation has been ongoing since the 1950s. These are several theories on motivation. Three contemporary theories have been selected and are outlined here. Motivation Theories:1) Goal-setting theory:
In this theory, goals and intensions are seen as a primary source of motivation.
1. Specific goals can lead to a good performance.
2. Difficult or challenging goals can result in a higher level of performance.
• This implies that if you set yourself certain specific objectives, then you are able to deliver a better performance.
• If you set yourself difficult to achieve challenges that test you to your limits, then you operate at a much higher level of performance to achieve those goals.
Either type of goal setting provides an “internal stimulus” that we otherwise know as “motivation”.
Let’s take an example of a challenging goal
You can say to yourself:
“I can win against this opponent though he is bigger than me.”
“I can win against this opponent who has much more experience than me.”
These goals are undoubtedly difficult for you, but according to the Goal-Setting Theory, the more difficult the task that you set for yourself, the higher the level of performance that you will deliver. In other words, you will be able to raise your level of performance to meet that challenge if you set higher goals.
Specific goals, on the other hand, work far better than general goals. An example of an general goal is “I will give it my best shot”. This kind of general thoughts process is not considered a good enough motivator compared to a specific goal, such as “I have to clear the first two rounds at least.” Specific goals give directions and a purposefulness that “general” goal cannot. General goal may not be big enough motivators to deliver the best performance.
Both specific and challenging goals are motivational and find use in different stages in a grappler’s or combat athlete’s career. At the start of your career, as a newcomer, you probably need specific goals. As you progress, you will begin to feel the need to establish yourself. It is at this stage that difficult goals can help you deliver a higher performance. But, once you establish yourself, the challenges available to you may diminish to some extent, but then new challenges in the form of upcoming tough opponent’s crop up all the time and you have to continue to maintain your performance at a high level to retain your position instead of resorting to complacency.2) Expectancy Theory
There is a lot of research evidence that supports the expectance principles of motivation. According to this theory, the motivation to give a good performance is dependent upon the expectation that the performance will lead to an attractive outcome or reward.Attractiveness of the reward:
Sports professionals place a lot of importance on rewards. The rewards expected are a function of individual needs and the stage in a grappler’s or combat athlete’s career cycle. Some may crave for accolades and adulation from fans. Most covet medals and titles, and some may anticipate a win over a tough opponent as a reward in itself. Effort-performance linkage:
When you put up a good fight and put a lot of effort behind your performance. If you still end up losing, it may demotivate you. You have to guard against this. You’ll get into an internal conflict or not being able to reconcile your defeat with the effort that went into your training and what you perceive as a good performance in the game.3) Reinforcement Theory
This theory implies that if you give a good performance, which result in a win, it serves as reinforcement (or a motivating factor) for you to deliver a similar good performance in the next tournament.
In this theory, a win is a “reinforcer” that motivates a grappler or combat athlete to repeat the good performance again.
• past wins can motivate you for your next game
• past performance and its rewards inspire consistency in future bouts
In these three theories, goals, rewards, expectations and previous wins have been highlighted as motivation factors. In the next section, let’s take a look at a comprehensive list of motivators.Motivators:
For players to be motivated they need specific motivators, and these motivators vary from person to person. Motivators are like incentives that create enthusiasm and provide the necessary impetus for a good performance. Based on the central massage from these motivational theories (and other theories not listed here) and taking into account the mental framework of grapplers and combat athletes, a comprehensive list of motivators has been developed.
By and large, the motivated frame-of-mind emerges not from short-term objective, but from long-range thinking and dedication in your association with the game. These ling-range motivators can revolve around your inspiration to break a few records, to improve over your past wins, or to consolidate your position. Motivators can also be the titles you hope to receive or the feelings of patriotism associated with the rewards or role model whose achievement you want to live up to or surpass.
Motivation is an individual process, and you have the task of identifying you. Take a look at the motivators given below and see which ones apply to you.
Any of the following factors can play a role in motivating a grappler or combat athletes to excellence.
• Breaking records:
Crossing certain milestones and reaching levels scaled by legends can give one an emotional high and serve as a motivational device.
• Achieving specific career goals:
Winning in certain tournaments, playing at the national level, etc.
• Inspiration from past wins: When the spirits are buoyed by a recent victory, it is a high in and of itself and a motivator for the next game. However, it has to be tempered with a keenness to maintain the winning form.
Titles, belts, awards, trophies, etc.
• Meeting difficult challenges:
Playing and winning against a formidable opponent.
• Role models:
Role models are those whose game you respect and would like to emulate. To play like your role module or to play in the tournaments in which your role module played and won can also be good motivators.
Financial assistance, free training equipment, etc. When sponsors take interest in you and your game and take care of your monetary needs in game participation, your commitment to the game and motivation levels skyrocket.
• Internal reward system:
Your own personal reward systema) Your dreams
– Your motivation is based on the kind of career track you visualize for yourself and how crucial it is to you to achieve your dreams. Every step toward your goal is a motivator until to reach your desired pinnacle of success.b) Your performance
– what aspects of your performance will make you feel really good about yourself at the end of a game? The fines details of your performance like styles, moves, or counterattacks that you want to use, can form the inspiration and motivation to play. The techniques that enhance your performance inspire you. c) Fan following:
If you deliver an outstanding performance, the audience applause, prestige and fan adulation that often accomplishes such a performance is a high in itself. It makes for good nostalgia and motivates you for your next game. The appreciation from fans can make a grappler or combat athletes feel values, and this improves self-esteem and serves as a motivator to better the performance.d) Your performance exceeds your own expectations
– For example, you won despite an injury or you scored more points than you hoped for.e) Personal enjoyment
– When you play the game because you enjoy the sports, it makes you feel good about yourself. Your motivator is the need to constantly learn and also a good motivator.f) Patriotism
– Your feeling of patriotism to win for your club, county or country are also a good motivator.
When you identify your true motivators, you can then start actively looking for these motivators in your career to stimulate you onto heights in performance.Demotivation and depression:
Failure sometimes leads to a drastic drop in confidence levels, brooding and a depressed state of mind. There is sense of loss of pride and a sense of disappointment. While there is an often talk of anxiety and stress in the context of mental preparation, an often overlooked issue is low morale and depression in an athlete. To get your momentum going once again, there are a few approaches that you can follow. Any one of these or a combination might work for you.Ways to fight depressiona) Never view a single failure in isolation
– The important thing for you to keep in mind is that professional grappling or combat athletics is your career. You have to take a collective approach to your triumphs and failures. You might find that your wins far outweigh your failures. Always keep your long-term and medium-term goals in perspective rather than reacting to your performance in the short term.b) Learn from your future
– Rather than brood over the failure itself, focus your mind on moves and approaches that may have been unsuitable for that particular match and your opponent. If you spend your mental energy on identifying what went wrong rather than getting demotivated, you can rectify your performance in the next game. c) Get in touch with nature:
When you are demotivated and depressed, it may help if you go on a trip to a spot or location with an abundance of nature all around. The fresh air and high level of oxygen in the atmosphere in such places can clear your mind. It can energize you so you can pull yourself out of your depression.
d) Pursue a hobby or another sport as a recreational activity and as a diversion away from depressive thoughts. e) Use the ancient system of yoga:
There is an asana (yoga techniques) that is usually suggested for depression and Demotivation. In this technique, there is a stretching routine that has the capacity to stimulate and activate the mind. Consult a yoga practitioner to learn the technique.f) Use Mediation:
The “down” feeling that is known as depression can be changed gradually to a more upbeat feeling through meditation. There are meditation techniques that can raise the energy levels by focusing the mind. The techniques can be easily learned from a self-help book or from an instructor.
In this section on motivation, we studied the motivators and the ways in which a grappler or combat athlete can deal with the depression associated with Demotivation. The internal rewards that you set out for yourself in your career path and the role models on whom you fashion yourself are more effective in helping you keep your motivation levels going for a longer period of time because this type of motivation is based on long-range goals. However, external rewards, such a trophies or financial assistance can stir up your best efforts since you have to leave up to the expectations of society-the sponsors, fans or sports authorities. A combination of internal and external rewards can work in tandem to inspire a truly good performance from a grappler or combat athlete.
As you progress in your athletic career and reach a peak, internal rewards will begin to mean a lot more to you. Your motivations gradually change from being external awards-driven to being more internal reward-oriented.