“Today for you. Tomorrow for me." This used to be a saying I heard growing up to motivate individuals to keep their heads up, keep motivation high, and stay positive. Unfortunately sometimes that tomorrow never comes, and it is becoming more and more common in youth to lose motivation. Players remain down in the dumps, bombarded with every excuse in the book, heeding to negativity, and left feeling uninspired to put their best foot forward.
I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. -Michael Jordan
Recently, I received a devastating email from a desperate mother, saying that her son was being bullied by other players on his team. Apparently the bullies were teasing this child because his skills were legging behind, while other players were continuously improving. Bullying should never be tolerated on any team, especially in basketball, but that is a whole other topic for a different blog.
I began to think to myself, why is this kid’s skills falling behind? Why is he not improving? How can I help this child? Losing motivation is a slippery slope, throw bullying in the mix and a child can throw away the game all together. This is never a point we want to get to.
So, how can we keep up motivation in our young athletes during hard or difficult times?
The answer is not competition, practicing more, or even extra training hours. Motivation comes from your head and heart first, then it goes onto the court. We need to help our athletes find the reason why they love basketball again. When you lose your inspiration, you are forgetting why you started playing in the first place, you are forgetting the happiness that comes from holding the ball in your hands. So my favourite answer to how to keep up motivation has always been and will always be: Watch Basketball.
Turn on the sports channel, youtube, social media, get out the old DVDs, and watch the highlights of your favourite players. Watch those inspirational (sometimes cheesy movies) all about the love for the game. I still dream to be “Like Mike” (if you haven’t seen it, you absolutely should). Nothing feels more motivating than watching your favourite player’s air time on dunks, or watching them scoring 30+ points in a single game!
Going back on the court after watching the pros, inspires athletes to be better. Nothing is more inspirational than going back to the reason why you started to play/train in the first place. That feeling of bliss and awe will always bring that missing passion back.