As a coach, have you ever wondered about the talented player who seems to cruise without putting in the hard yards?
How much better would Player A be, you wonder, if only he had the motivation of the les talented Player B? The frustrating part is that motivation is more complicated that a simply telling Jimmy to buck up his ideas.
Until the doctors develop motivation transplants, you have to work out a way of keeping your group of players hungry for success and prepared to put in the hard work.
It's not easy, but it's possible.
What do you want?
People play cricket for a simple reason: The want to have fun.
Once you know that this is the biggest motivating factor in your players you are at a huge advantage: the first trick is to keep your players engaged and enjoying things.
Fit the difficulty to the skill level. All players are challenged but able to experience success.
• Add in variety with lots of different activities.
• Keep everyone moving: avoid long talks or having lines of players waiting for a turn.
• Don't be afraid to just play sometimes. Not all training has to be disciplined and drilled.
When a coach forgets that it's important to enjoy playing cricket he or she can strip motivation away from players rather than boost it up. Don't make that mistake.
Other reasons for playing cricket include wanting to feel part of a team and needing to feel successful at something.
For naturally good players the second reason can easily be met without much effort. So while it seems they are not motivated, it is more like they no longer need to motivate themselves because they are already getting what they want from the game.
Your job with these players is to get them to fail.
You might put them in a better team, give them more difficult skills to learn or add pressure to them by setting harder and harder goals for them to reach. Eventually they will fail and failure will lead to them realising they need to put in more effort to be successful.
Take care though, as there is another reaction (which is more common in less talented players).
It's equal natural to respond to failure by putting in less effort.
Players like this are protecting themselves from failure not trying. That way they can always say they only failed because they "couldn't be bothered".
I'm sure you know a player or two like that.
Hand over responsibility
Once you know a players motivation you can start feeding it.
By far the easiest way to do this is to allow your team to control their development.
That doesn't mean giving free reign. It means having the confidence and self-awareness give the right level of responsibility to a player. Research has shown that the more control people feel they have over situations the better they do.
The tricky part is knowing how far to go with each individual.
That's where coaching becomes an art rather than a science, but once you are looking to do this, opportunities arise all the time:
• Tactical decisions
• Setting goals
• Deciding how to achieve those goals
As coach, you would still be involved in this process. If a batsman is making a glaring technical error you would show them how to correct it. However, if they are mature enough perhaps they would decide when the corrective drills would be done. It would be a personal decision based on their motivations.
For me, that's the key to motivation. It's not something you can deliver by shouting at someone, or even something you can coerce players into.
Motivation is giving players enough responsibility so they do it themselves.
by David Hinchliffe, PitchVision Academy
© 2011 miSport Ltd