But first, what is motivation? How Does it Work?

"Motivation is an internal state that initiates and maintains goal directed behavior" (Mayer, 2011).
"You can motivate by fear. And you can motivate by reward. But both of these methods are only temporary. The only lasting thing is self-motivation." (Homer Rice).

Five Concepts of How Motivation Works

1. Interest - people are more motivated if they have a personal interest in what is being taught.
2. Beliefs - the belief that one can be successful.
3. Attributes - when people attribute success and failure to the degree of effort they put into study, then they will work harder.
4. Goals - if people set personal goals of mastery for themselves, it enhances their motivation.
5. Partnership - when students/athletes feel that they are in a partnership with their teacher, they will be more motivated
(Mayer 2011)

Factors_Affecting_Motivation.jpg
Motivation to Learn, PIDP: https://moodle.vcc.ca/mod/resource/view.php?id=201307

Motivational forces are generally divided into two groups.

Positive/ Negative Motivational Forces
People are stimulated by positive motivational forces such as curiosity and making their own decision to do something or controlling their own learning. In contrast, people are also stimulated by negative motivational forces, such as fear. In other words, one is voluntarily, and the other one is involuntarily. For example, in fear of tests or quizzes, students will study hard to avoid negative consequences. To satisfy curiosity about a butterfly’s metamorphosis, students’ may spontaneously search for some useful information to solve their questions. Such activities would be a personally meaningful and positive force.

Intrinsic/Extrinsic Motivational Forces
Intrinsic motivation is defined as a kind of motivation which drives people to do something but asks for no tangible rewards. On the contrary, extrinsic motivation is defined as a kind of motivation which drives people to do something by expecting some tangible rewards.
(Wikiversity, 2011)

EXTRINSIC - this motivation comes from an outside source or reward. It could be a promotion, getting a degree, receiving a positive response from an employer, teacher, friend. In sports education, the respect and appreciation of fellow teammates is a strong extrinsic motivation to train, as is the glory of winning a game or owning a title or trophy. The down side to this is that the pay off or reward down the road may not be long lasting or even beneficial.The following video of a young person speaking to a conference of educators could be a wonderful example of extrinsic motivation.

INTRINSIC - This is a wow factor in motivation; it is something that drives you from within. Intrinsic motivation flows from more of the emotional rewards (enjoyment, satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment) and is longer lasting than the short rewards of a promotion, a high grade or diploma or bragging rights to a sports win.

"Success is the peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable." - John Wooden, 1920-2010


This philosophy of success, marks the cornerstone on which John Wooden, one of greatest basketball coaches of all time, built his formidable career. The satisfaction of knowing you made your best effort was the intrinsic reward he motivated his players with. It was so effective, that "Coach" Wooden holds one of the most formidable records in basketball history and led UCLA to countless wins. But Wooden didn't limit his repertoire to intrinsic motivational stiumuli. In his "pyramid of success", responsibility to the team was featured largely as the building blocks of personal athletic success. He identified "friendship", "loyalty" and "cooperation" as three of his five foundations to the pyramid. "Team spirit" is also identified as a required trait in his pyramid. Clearly, in order to motivate his athletes to greatness, Coach Wooden utilized a variety of approaches to win the hearts and minds of his players (Wooden, 2010).

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Athletes get involved in sport for a variety of reasons, reasons that fall into the two categories of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
Intrinsically motivated athletes participate in sports for internal reasons such as satsfaction in accomplishments and pure enjoyment. Extrinsically motivated athlethes participate for external reasons such as social stature and awards. Extrinsic rewards are particularly centered around competative sports were athletes receive celebrity and money whereas college level athletes receive rewards such as admiration among friends and scholarships. When extrinsic rewards are used correctly they can be very beneficial however they can also be impeding on intrinsic motivation as athletes may be more drivin by outside sources such as media,coaches or parents.

Intrinsically motivated athletes participate in sport for personal or internal reasons for their own enjoyment and satisfaction. internal reasons, particularly pure enjoyment and satisfaction.
Behaviors Related to Intrinsic Motivation
  • Better task-relevant focus
  • focuses on skill improvement and growth
  • Fewer changes (ups and downs) in motivation
  • Less distraction
  • Less stress when mistakes are made
  • Increased confidence and self-efficacy
  • Greater satisfaction

Extrinsic motivation may come from outside such as social rewards, as wanting to impress friends or family or more material rewards such as trophies and scholarships.
Two major types of extrinsic motivation are highlighted here.
Behavior controlled by the extrinsic rewards
  • Motivation Based on
    • Extrinsic rewards
    • Avoiding punishment or guilt
    • focus on the competitive or performance outcome
  • Behaviors
    • Less interest, value, and effort towards achievement
    • Anxiety
    • Difficulty coping with failure

Behavior controlled by the athlete
  • Motivation based on
    • Internal control of behaviors
    • Choice to participate even with extrinsic rewards
  • Behaviors (Similar to intrinsic motivation)
    • Greater interest, enjoyment, and effort towards achievement
    • Desire to learn new skills or strategies
    • Positive coping styles

Extrinsic Rewards: Weakening or Strengthening Intrinsic Motivation
Based on the two types of extrinsic motivation, extrinsic rewards may weaken or strengthen the intrinsic motivation of athletes. Under the following situations, it is likely that extrinsic rewards will weaken intrinsic motivation.
  1. The extrinsic reward controls the behaviors of the athlete (e.g.., I’m playing to keep my college scholarship).
  2. The extrinsic reward provides negative information about the athlete’s ability. (e.g., there is only one reward and I didn’t get it)
  3. The extrinsic reward is not directly connected to a specific behavior or performance level
  4. The extrinsic reward is given for a behavior that is already intrinsically rewarding.
Extrinsic rewards can also be used to maintain or strengthen intrinsic motivation. If a reward is viewed as informing athletes about their ability in a positive manner, then the rewards will likely foster internal satisfaction and intrinsic motivation. (Hatch, S., Thomsen, D. & Waldron, J. J., 2011).

It is important to note that not all researchers agree with the Intrinsic/Extrinsic categories of motivation. As mentioned in the previous page, Professor Steven Reiss argues that motivations cannot be categorized into either intrinsic or extrinsic. "Individuals differ enormously in what makes them happy - for some competition, winning and wealth are the greatest sources of happiness, but for others, feeling competent or socializing may be more satisfying. The point is that you can't say some motivations, like money, are inherently inferior." (Grabmeier, J., 2005)