Self-Determination Theory, Intrinsic Motivation, and Youth Sports Participation

The self-determination theory states that autonomy, competence, and relatedness maintain or enhance intrinsic motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000). Interestingly, the theory is based on the idea that in many cases, we start with intrinsic motivation, and we need to find ways to maintain or not retard that motivation. Rather than trying to motivate someone, we need to avoid de-motivating him or her. This is especially true with youth sports, which are inherently enjoyable activities.  […]

Maintaining Players’ Motivation

David Sirota, Louis A. Mischkind, and Michael Irwin Meltzer wrote an article titled “Why your Employees are losing Motivation” for Harvard Business School. They open with a powerful statement: Most companies have it all wrong. They don’t have to motivate their employees. They have to stop demotivating them. Coaches make the same mistake. Many coaches Read more about Maintaining Players’ Motivation[…]

Avoid the Fast Track to Youth Sports’ Burnout

Originally published in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, March/April 2009. This week, I looked at the roster for a Division I women’s program to check on a player that I had watched in high school. She was no longer on the roster. I emailed a high school coach and asked about the girl, and he Read more about Avoid the Fast Track to Youth Sports’ Burnout[…]

Motivational Traits of Elite Performers

Dr. Craig Stewart, a professor at the University of Montana, sent an article titled “Motivational Traits of Elite Young Soccer Players.” In the paper, older players scored higher than younger players in their motivation to avoid failure. The article states: It has been determined that players who seek to avoid failure will avoid achievement-oriented behavior, Read more about Motivational Traits of Elite Performers[…]

Play and Intrinsic Motivation

In The Power of Mindful Learning, Ellen J. Langer tells the story of her friend: A writer friend of mine was trying to concentrate on writing when some school-age children started up a hilarious, noisy game below his window. He asked them to leave. Since he was breaking up what clearly seemed a delightful scene, Read more about Play and Intrinsic Motivation[…]

The Ins and Outs of Motivation

Article originally appeared in Los Angeles Sports & Fitness, November/December 2009. In the summer of 2002, I worked the Stanford University women’s basketball camp. In 2002, the And1 Mix-Tapes were nearing the height of their popularity. At the camp, a couple girls saw me messing around and doing some ball-handling tricks during the first break. Read more about The Ins and Outs of Motivation[…]