Motivation by Louis Ross

Louis is a Sport and Exercise Psychologist in Training and this month he is talking all about motivation! Motivation has classically been split into two types: extrinsic and intrinsic motivation (some examples can be found on the picture below). Intrinsic motivation Those who are intrinsically motivated generally find themselves doing things for the fun of it, or for the challenge rather than due to external pressures, rewards, or nudges. Those who are intrinsically motivated may not need the reinforcement or reward that is associated with extrinsic motivation, and they explore tasks in a curious way that benefits their personal improvement…

27 Jan 2022 / By Elly Shearman

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Louis is a Sport and Exercise Psychologist in Training and this month he is talking all about motivation!

Motivation has classically been split into two types: extrinsic and intrinsic motivation (some examples can be found on the picture below).

Colorful Soft and Rounded Comparison Infographic-2 (1)

Intrinsic motivation

Those who are intrinsically motivated generally find themselves doing things for the fun of it, or for the challenge rather than due to external pressures, rewards, or nudges. Those who are intrinsically motivated may not need the reinforcement or reward that is associated with extrinsic motivation, and they explore tasks in a curious way that benefits their personal improvement rather than being determined to look better than others around them. An example that relates to our tennis game might be:

Player A is determined to improve their baseline groundstrokes during their groups practice. They are working hard on their technique and improving how many balls they hit into a certain area marked out by their coach each time it is their turn to hit. Each time it is Player A’s turn they are trying to improve on their last score (this might not happen every time, but their main goal is to improve the skill that is being learnt!).

Extrinsic motivation

Extrinsic motivation is unavoidable in the world of sport because we are usually always playing for an outcome or result when it gets to match/competition time. Types of extrinsic motivation can differ.

For example you may have Player B who is doing extra training sessions because they want to make their coach or parents happy, and they feel like doing more will earn them praise (or save them from disappointing others). Player C might do extra individual or group training because they want to become better and get to the next level or make it professionally. Both Players B&C are extrinsically motivated, one is wanting praise/is playing for others & the other player is extrinsically motivated by the thought of making it professionally and wants to do it as a career.

There are slightly different levels to extrinsic motivation. Some may be more obsessed with wins and trophies which might be unhealthy if they then stop winning and have nothing else that makes them happy. Whilst some extrinsic motivation may just come from constantly hitting goals that someone has set themselves, for example – making the semi-finals of 4 tournaments, and winning one tournament. This is still a form of extrinsic motivation as there are outcomes to be hit, but it is something that has more of a process to it.

Wrapping it up

I’ve tried to provide an extremely brief overview of two types of motivation. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can come and go for us with each task or activity we face. It’s important to reflect on the areas where we maybe need to be more task focused and where the intrinsic motivation will get more out of us, and we need to recognise when external forces might motivate us more.

The purpose of this isn’t to say that being extrinsically motivated is bad, but it is to raise awareness that in the long term, focusing on intrinsic forms of motivation is healthier e.g. entering a match knowing that a win would be great (and we all love winning), BUT understanding that if you focused on an improvement with your backhand and your second serves, your chances of winning will probably improve!

Please watch my video below – where I talk more about motivation

Louis Ross

BASES SEPAR candidate
Sport and Exercise Psychologist in Training (SEPiT) Email: rosslouis166@gmail.com
Number: 07511 839 391
Instagram: @connectsportpsych / Twitter: @rosslouis166

Need more information?

Contact Elly Shearman Tennis Coaching on
Tel: 07581 237260
Email: ellytennis.Kings@hotmail.com

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Elly Shearman

Elly Shearman is an adult and children's tennis coach based in Bristol. Passionate about grassroots tennis and enabling everyone to have access to playing the sport whatever their age or ability.

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