Skip to main content

The Effects of Motivation on Sports Performance

  • Author:
  • Updated date:


Motivation can be described as an individual’s inner will and dedication or focus to achieve a goal they have set for themselves. Motivation is a very important factor in elite level sports for the simple reason it’s what makes you do what you do, if you’re not motivated to be a top level athlete then you have a chance of not being the best you can be and falling short of your goals. Motivation is started and caused by a motive which is a reason to do things that will require motivation. Below is a more in depth explanation of motivation and its positives and negatives on sports in general and examples of specific areas.

Some motives that are a part of sports are –

·Goals – Goals are something that we set to achieve our targets, for example big goals such as, getting a gold medal in the Olympic power lifting, or something smaller such as, improving your 400m running time by 1second. Goals can be either big ones or as small as little improvements.

· Performance – Performance is the big one that comes with being an elite level athlete because one mistake may cost you big. If an athlete has a bad performance in the game before this can be used as a motive to get motivated and improve for the next time they perform.

·Persistence – Persistence is also a big part of achieving goals and is often something that we lack because of low motivation levels. If we haven’t got persistence in our training sessions then we wont get the results that we want which will lead to low motivation levels.

· Impression If an athlete’s performance is good then this will leave a good impression with coaches, fans and possibly other clubs or organisations. Some athletes get motivation by the support of fans and people around them so leaving a good impression is a very important part of motivation.

Each and every person has their own reasons for participating in their chosen sport and below is some of the reasons.

· For the social side of sports, making new friends from playing in teams and working as a unit together.

· Improvements on overall health and fitness for the individual, and a great source of relieving stress from work and other things.

· Personal pride of defying odds and peoples expectations of you and doing something that you thought you might never be able to do.

· Possibly earning money for participating in sports both professional and semi professional sports pay wages, or maybe participating in a tournament of some sort for charity.

· Peer pressure can also be apart of peoples decisions to play sports, your friends might all want to play football but you might want to play rugby more, so the pressure is there for you to follow your friends and do the sports that they do. This is a very common one in today’s society.

Some factors that may affect the younger generation can also be related to the above ones which are more aimed at teenagers and adults.

Below are some factors that can affect younger people’s motivation

·Sporting role models – They play a big part in younger people getting involved in sports for example David Beckham was the role model for many younger people when he was at Manchester united because everyone wanted to be like him, from his skills even down to his hairstyles, so he provided a role model for people both young and old and gave them motivation to get into football.

Parental pressure- Some parents can push children into play sports for many reasons, they share the same passion for the sport, the parent never succeeded in the chosen sport so wants their child to do so and to keep kids active and in good health. Parental pressure can be both good and bad depending on the personality of the parent and the child.

· Motivation for the child should be high because he/she has great support from people close to them.

Scroll to Continue

· Prizes – Prizes are a good way of getting younger people as well as older people to get motivated and perform well, for example if a child is playing a football match and their parents said if you score a goal today we will buy you a treat for doing so, well then the child will think I can get something extra out of this and put in a better performance and work harder.

Types of Motivation

There are two different types or forms of motivation that we can use intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Below is a detailed explanation of both forms of motivation and how they relate to sports.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is motivation that comes from within us not from external sources for emotions.

Someone who is intrinsically motivated doesn’t require much external motivation from fans, money and expectations of others. They are focused on their own inner goals that they want to achieve and their personal reasons for being in the sporting situation they are in at that moment.

A sporting example of Intrinsic motivation is a Anderson Silva (MMA), before he enters the octagon he is calm and composed and is deep in thought about his motives, reasons for being there and his hard work and dedication to get this far in his career, that is intrinsic motivation because he is getting motivated by his own sources from within and not from other rewards such as money and fame.

One of the main intrinsically motivated motives are personal pride the thought of being able to better yourself and beat the challenges that you set yourself.

People who are intrinsically motivated still want to receive rewards but these rewards are not what keeps the athlete motivated to persevere through the hard times that comes with being an athlete. Intrinsic motivation is a long term reason to get involved in sports because it will take a long time for this form of motivation to die down.

Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is motivation that comes from outside of us not from internal sources for example personal pride.

Someone who is extrinsically motivated doesn’t require much internal motivation from personal pride, achieving goals and enjoyment they are only focused on the rewards that come with being an athlete such as money and fame.

A sporting example of extrinsic motivation is Wayne Rooney, Wayne is one of the planets best known footballers and with this status comes a lot of money and fame. Wayne is sponsored by many internationally recognised brands such as Nike, Lucozade, Coca-Cola Zero and PowerAde. He also plays for one of the biggest clubs in world football Manchester United which brings him a lot of media coverage and fame within the public. Recently Wayne was caught in a debate with Manchester United over his weekly wages which saw a massive increase to his previous wage which shows that he is motivated by the money which is extrinsic motivation.

One of the main extrinsically motivated motives is fame, being in the eye of millions of people will leave great fame upon your shoulders and is one of the main reasons people want to be professional athletes.

People who are extrinsically motivated still do it for intrinsic reasons such as improving certain skill sets and becoming a better athlete on the pitch because you are motivated to become better because the better you are the better quality the extrinsic factors become.

The main issue with extrinsic motivation is the rewards can lose their power and value, for example if a footballer is being paid £200,000 a week and a £15,000 bonus for scoring a goal this won’t be a main target because they already get paid a lot, meaning a loss in attraction to the reward. Extrinsic motivation is more of a short term form of motivation and used for getting started because as mentioned above, rewards will eventually lose their value.

Some of My Other Work -

The Human Skeleton

Everything You Need To Know - Lettuce Nutrition Contents.

The Functions of Muscles


Hacicu Bogdan from Cluj-Napoca, Romania on April 17, 2019:

Do you think that if you are driven only by extrinsic motivation you can get to a world class level?

d00d on November 02, 2015:


Related Articles