Sports Motivation and Intrinsic Factors

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Motivation is a complex process that drives us to achieve our goals. It can be influenced by a variety of factors, both internal and external. In the context of sports, motivation is essential for athletes to perform at their best and reach their full potential.

What is sports motivation?

Sports motivation is the drive to participate in and excel at physical activity. It can be influenced by a variety of factors, including:

  • Intrinsic motivation: This type of motivation comes from within the individual and is driven by their own personal enjoyment and satisfaction. Intrinsically motivated athletes participate in sports because they love it, not for external rewards or recognition.
  • Extrinsic motivation: This type of motivation comes from external sources, such as trophies, medals, scholarships, or praise from others. Extrinsically motivated athletes are often driven by the desire to win or achieve external goals.

The importance of intrinsic motivation in sports

Research has shown that intrinsic motivation is more important for long-term success in sports than extrinsic motivation. Intrinsically motivated athletes are more likely to stick with their sport, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. They are also more likely to enjoy the process of training and competing, which can lead to improved performance.

How to boost intrinsic motivation in sports

There are a number of things that coaches and parents can do to boost intrinsic motivation in athletes:

  • Create a positive and supportive environment. This means providing athletes with opportunities to learn and grow, and to experience success and failure in a safe and supportive environment.
  • Help athletes set meaningful goals. Athletes are more likely to be motivated to work hard if they have goals that are important to them and that they believe are achievable.
  • Encourage athletes to focus on the process rather than the outcome. This means helping them to focus on improving their skills and enjoying the journey, rather than obsessing over winning or losing.
  • Provide athletes with opportunities for autonomy and mastery. Athletes are more likely to be motivated if they have a sense of control over their own training and development, and if they are able to challenge themselves and learn new things.


Intrinsic motivation is essential for long-term success in sports. Coaches and parents can play an important role in boosting intrinsic motivation by creating a positive and supportive environment, helping athletes set meaningful goals, encouraging them to focus on the process rather than the outcome, and providing them with opportunities for autonomy and mastery.

Here are some additional tips for athletes on how to boost their own intrinsic motivation:

  • Find a sport that you love. If you're not enjoying yourself, you're less likely to stick with it.
  • Set personal goals. What do you want to achieve in your sport? Once you know what you're working towards, you'll be more motivated to put in the hard work.
  • Focus on the process. Don't get too caught up in winning or losing. Instead, focus on improving your skills and getting better every day.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Train with people who support you and motivate you to be your best.
  • Celebrate your successes. Take the time to appreciate your accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem.

By following these tips, athletes can boost their intrinsic motivation and set themselves up for success in sports.

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