One day while I was waiting to speak to a team, I was watching a softball coach teach his player the fundamentals of pitching, and to make sure that she understood what he was explaining he had her explain the fundamentals of pitching to him. She began to repeat verbatim what the coach had taught her, however, in the middle of her explanation, the coach interrupted her and asked, “why do you do that?”. She sheepishly replied, “I don’t know.” Without waiting for a reply she continued until the coach again asked, “why do you do that?” For the second time she responded, “I don’t know”. Now somewhat reluctant to continue, she decided to explain the follow-through when the coach asked a third time, “why do you do that?”. This time the player was frustrated and repeated, “I don’t know!” The coach walked up closely and gently responded to her frustration with a powerful principle: “When you know WHY you do things, you will have more power in doing them”.
Yesterday I was sitting down with a Division I college wrestler who told me what his goals are for the season, I followed up with the question, "Why are those your goals?" He paused for a moment, looked at me and said, "That's a good question...I don't know." The elite performers whether they be athletes, parents, students, or dancers have something in common: They know WHY they do things. What the average person leaves to chance, the elite athlete does deliberately, they perform on purpose, with purpose, and as that wise softball coach said, having a WHY behind your actions will bring more power in doing them.
Can you remember your worst performance? Has there ever been a time you had bad performance, after bad performance, which was followed by a horrible performance? What was going through your mind? Did you ever contemplate quitting?
Now take time to think about the answer to the following question: Why didn’t you quit?
I’m not a mind reader, but I can tell you that your answer has something to do with your motivation. Your motivation gives you the power to keep going, especially when times get tough because both you and I know that in the world of sports, you WILL fail at times. However, the athletes with a powerful WHY behind their purpose for playing are given something I call staying power, or rather, the power to endure adversity. Renown Sport Psychology Consultant Ken Ravizza once told us that, “adversity is the fertilizer of growth”. To go along with this analogy, if adversity is fertilizer; motivation is the power to push through the adversity even though it stinks and there is a lot of it.
If your motivation is strong enough, you will continue to play on purpose, with purpose even if you find yourself in one of these situations:
· You feel you are better than the person playing in front of you
· You don’t get along with the coach
· You are injured and may miss a significant amount of the season, or the entire season
· Your team is in last place
· You are in a terrible slump or having the worst season of your career
So now let me ask you...What is YOUR motivation? Why?