Apr 05, 2016 • 5 min read
Will had been taking batting lessons from me for about a year. He was a really nice 11-year-old kid with average athletic ability, and very respectable. We got along great! But he was progressing at a very slow pace and it seemed like the instruction just wasn’t sinking in.
Finally one day, I asked Will if he had any interests other than baseball. He perked up and said, “I like acting.” He went on to tell me about the school play he was in last year where he played a lead role. He told me about an acting class for young actors he had heard of in Nashville―I couldn’t shut him up! We spent the rest of the baseball lesson talking about something Will had a genuine interest in. Will liked baseball ok, but he just wasn’t motivated to learn. If he follows his more honest path of acting, I’m guessing things will be different.
Without self-motivation, enthusiasm fades & most goals are never reached.
Will had a good reason for lack of motivation―he wasn’t interested. Others who come to my gym for instruction have lots of interest and talent, but lack the ability to show respect and give a good effort. There’s no excuse for this and we have some work to do before any progress can be made on skill development!
When kids are not motivated for whatever reason, any attempt at learning technique is going to fall short. On the other hand, when players have an interest and are self-motivated, they seem to learn with ease. When self-motivation is encouraged every step of the way, kids will eventually learn to depend on themselves instead of expecting others to make things happen for them.
Here are a few things to consider that can help your young athlete get motivated and stay motivated.
In our modern, instant gratification society, becoming a self-motivator can be difficult. To do it, you can’t follow the norm; you must follow your own path. Remember, it’s a lot easier to teach the concept of self-motivation to a young child when they have a genuine interest in what they are doing. Help them find a sport or activity they enjoy. When it comes to other responsibilities such as chores, help them understand why it’s important and self-motivation will follow.
When not feeling motivated to do something, the most important lesson I have learned is this: if you can convince yourself to do something important for yourself or others, you are never sorry you did it. You never say to yourself, “What was I thinking? Why did I help that person? Why did I help myself by going through that tough training session today?” You will always see the value and be glad you were able to motivate yourself, and in time it will become easier to do what needs to be done. You will come to trust that it works and you will become a self-motivated person!
Chuck Schumacher is the author of “How to Play Baseball: A Parents Role in Their Child’s Journey,” available at www.chuckschumacher.com (signed copy) or Amazon. Chuck has 20 years experience as a youth baseball coach and 40 years experience in martial arts. In 2006, he opened Chuck’s Gym in Franklin, Tenn., where he teaches baseball and Okinawan karate. You can contact Chuck at email@example.com.