As an athlete the best motivation to play is to love doing it. The three ingredients of motivation – knowing you can do it, getting encouragement from others, and having a good time – are important for keeping your "love of the game." ("May 2006 Newsletter Feature 1 ).
What is your motivation to play a sport? Do you compete because you are confident in your skills? How you feel about your abilities and the environment you compete in can make the difference between whether you are having fun or just running along. If you like the thrill of competing and enjoy feeling challenged both at practice and during competition then you have the ingredients to having fun ("May 2006 Newsletter Feature 4 ).
Having new challenges everyday helps you develop and demonstrate what you can do. Look for the best challenges that are right at your skill level. A goal that is too easy does not feel satisfying when you achieve it. A goal that is too challenging will feel disappointing when you are not successful. Tests that match the activity to you and not you to the activity are best. Work with your coach to set up challenges that are hard but realistic, focusing on the progression and continuing to make it challenging by adapting facilities, equipment, or activities ("May 2006 Newsletter Feature 1 ). Sure at times you will be frustrated with something that is hard to do but this setting encourages you to keep moving and keep having fun.
Do you enjoy encouraging others to challenge themselves? “Having fun” is related to good teammate relationships, looking forward to playing in games and practices, playing time, and continuing to learn new skills ("May 2006 Newsletter Feature 4 ). Recruit a group of friends to play a sport with you so you can set up an positive environment of encouragement. Friends challenge each other, work hard together and most important have fun together.
Are you getting too involved with sport and making it not fun anymore? Be careful not to try everything at once because you will burnout from sport all together. Competing all the time with no mental and physical break does not encourage approaching new challenges from a fresh look.
Did you start playing when you were very young? Do you see yourself as an athlete the rest of your life? The top four reasons for not continuing to participate in recreational sports are time constraints. As you get older you want to be a part of non-sport related activities. Stay involved in playing, it will help you stay healthy, challenged, and have fun.
Embracing a "love of the game" means understanding that many reasons are part of your participation. The major reasons you play sports is to develop and demonstrate you can do it, experience positive social interactions with friends, and enjoy yourself. These three reasons form the ingredients of your motivation – one that keeps you wanting to play. To maximize your motivation, have positive sport experiences by looking for the best challenges, relying on your social support, and continue to do activities you enjoy.
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