5 Amazing Thoughts to Become a Positive Motivating Force and Unlock the Potential of Your Student Athletes

Athletic directors and coaches are the front line protecting student athletes. You keep them safe during games and practice, you have them work out properly to enhance but not hurt their abilities, and you are the best cheerleader they have to get back in the game after a mistake.

That can be a lot of pressure, especially when you’re trying to figure out how to motivate someone who is down on themselves. All that pressure they have building up, with the entire school and team counting on them, can get overwhelming.

So, we’ve looked at the best coaches, Olympians, and athletes to find out what made them keep going. We’ve narrowed it down to 5 big motivational themes that you can use to give your players the pick-me-up that they need.

“Enjoy the Game”

Your players love the game, but they may forget that when things get rough.

Reminding your players about how much they enjoy the sport itself can be a big and powerful motivator because it shows that you care about them having fun, not just winning. Get them to focus on something that’s bigger than themselves, something that they value and enjoy, and you’re able to prevent them getting in their own heads and harming their performance and their confidence.

“What’s Next”

What happens in a game when a play goes wrong? The next play starts.

Get your team to always think about what’s next and focus on the next play, so they worry about recovering, not about the mistake. “Next play” is a fantastic motto during the game because it pushes everyone forward while minimizing the mental impact of mistakes.

We also like “what’s next” because it means even after a game has been lost or a big mistake has happened, that there’s another thing to do. No mistake is the end of everything. It also helps your team keep its head when they’re winning because asking what’s next limits excessive celebrations and always gets you back on defense.

“Go for Great, Not Perfect”

Players and athletes who feel like they are the best will often beat themselves up when they slip, trip, miss a setup, lose their footing, or fail to impress every single judge. That tendency toward perfection can quickly become an internal downward spiral of anger and frustration. You’re the best person to stop it.

Just because they aren’t perfect doesn’t mean they can’t win or do their best. Focusing on nailing the fundamentals and performing consistently is the best way to create a career in their sport, not to just have one good event.

Frank Carroll, coach of Olympic medaling figure skater Gracie Gold, puts it this way: “It’s not the perfect skater that wins, it’s the best skater.”

“Doing Your Best Doesn’t Guarantee a Win, and That’s Okay”

Michael Jordan put it best: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over, and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Your students know Jordan, and many of them wear sneakers with his name on them. He’s one of the greatest, and he knew it was okay to fail. Teach your team to try their best, and you’ve got a great shot at making them comfortable with failing sometimes.

Very few teams are ever unbeatable, and that only comes with hard work and plenty of practices where people repeatedly fail, so that they can get it right when it counts. Build up their character by encouraging them, and you’re preparing them for life on and off the field.

But, Always Communicate Clearly

Those are a lot of thoughts that have to be articulated clearly to help your team relax and stay motivated. The best way to be clear and keep these ideas in the forefront is to write them down where they are always visible.

We recommend putting them up in your locker room and every place where you review games or matches, plus where you brainstorm about what’s next. Great coaches often write their favorite motivational saying at the top of a glass writing board to keep them always in their mind.

We’ve even worked with teams who considered permanently adding quotes next to the logo and branding on their boards.

That all boils down to one simple fact for coaches and athletic directors: you’re the best motivator, and you are at your best when it’s easy to point to your message and remind the team that you care.

When you’re ready to set your message where everyone can see it and live it, contact us here to see all of your stunning options for boards that never disrupt your message.