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Coaching Strategies > Player Motivation

The secret to motivation is the way you communicate - with the right approach you'll get enthusiasm and positive action - from yourself and those you coach.

Various methods enhance the motivation levels within training sessions and during matches, including goal setting, rewarding positive outcomes and involving players in the planning process.

Allowing and encouraging players to take responsibility for their own behaviour and performance outcomes has a significant impact. Involving players in the design of training sessions and programmes is a key step to increasing adherence, commitment and ownership. Senior squad players in particular should be consulted and may also be used to take small sections of training sessions which illustrates their commitment to the content.

Rewarding players with cash bonuses has been a feature of most semi-professional and even amateur football clubs. This process is unlikely to motivate players to play with more commitment, but does reinforce the positive outcomes of winning. Rewards such as praise, publicity and increased self-esteem are often more powerful than the tangible rewards of money

The effects of rewards are dependent on the orientation of the player - some are very financially motivated while others are more intrinsically motivated.

Pre match talk
A feature of a coach's motivation and communication style is the pre-match talk. Some coaches shout and scream and demand life sacrificing effort while others are cool and calculated and know how to trigger positive energy within the group. Consider the application example in the right hand column...

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Application Example
Motivational Pre-match talk

Consider these 3 statements and decide which would be the most appropriate during a pre-match talk

1. This time, let's start aggressively and maintain concentration throughout the entire match. No missed tackles, no off sides and no sloppy passes.

2. This time, no missed tackles or sloppy passes. Let's start aggressively and maintain concentration throughout the entire match.

3. This time, make every tackle, hold on to the ball and pass accurately. Let's start aggressively and maintain concentration throughout the entire match.

The second statement makes players aware of what to avoid and provides a positive goal at the end. However, the third statement is purely positive and provides a few process goals along the way.

Ref:- Better Coaching: Advanced Coach's Manual