A question on motivation.

Discussion in 'Junior League & Tournament Talk' started by webbeing, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. webbeing

    webbeing Rookie

    Sep 10, 2008
    So there's this 16 years old boy who has been improving at a very slow rate over the last year. Particularly in the areas of footwork/footspeed and endurance, where there's practically very little improvement.

    Is using the method of "if you achieve X in Y months then you get Z reward" the wrong way to motivate him, or at the very least it will not work. Since by this age, if he doesn't have enough intrinsic/internal motivation to put in 100% on/off the court, then basically "this is" the most that he can be in tennis?

    Incidentally, I am not training him to win state or even playing college tennis, though he's good enough to play d3 single now. I just would like for him not to lose 10/12 matches this coming high school season. He's close enough to the other kids to win 6/12 matches.

    Many thanks,

    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  2. Chemist

    Chemist Rookie

    Dec 4, 2012
    Near a tennis court
    Is your son taking lessons and participating in clinics on a regular basis? Does his clinic include off court fitness training? If the goal is to win 50% of the high school matches, 3-4 practices a week may be enough. You may ask him to play more tournaments. Tournament play is the best training for my 16 year old son. Rewarding him for winning matches might motivate him to train harder.
  3. Olybel

    Olybel New User

    Nov 10, 2012
    Generally, children in any years if get used to rewards after have done something, have higher demands every next time because they are not satisfied any more with same prize for same work. And get spoiled.

    I do the opposite, I present my kids what they will miss or lose if they do not do something, with last intention to build in them feeling for responsibility for their acts as well as making own decision. For expl. it is better to say kid that if do the drugs he will go in jail or die, than if you do not do drugs I will buy you a car.

    In tennis if there is no motivation for wining, there is no reward which will compensate that.
  4. Tennisguy3000

    Tennisguy3000 Semi-Pro

    Aug 19, 2010
  5. 10ismom

    10ismom Semi-Pro

    Feb 23, 2011
    Is he not motivated to work on his footwork/ foot speed and endurance because he'd rather do something else ( eg. playing video games , etc)?
    If that's the case, I would stress on conditioning and benefits of exercise to him.
    Playing college tennis or not, any kids should exercise 3 times a week. Give him this health reason to motivate him. Good conditioning can improve outcome of his matches.
    If he got discouraged from the outcome of his high school matches last year, I would not use reward for good results but emphasize on other things instead. Results will come if he improves in other areas needed improving and less worried about results.
  6. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Legend

    Jan 18, 2005
    A green and pleasant land
    A sports psych would argue that extrinsic motivation is the least effective and could even be counterintuitive, I would counter that in the sense that I work with a player who requires a great deal of extrinsic motivation in order to train at the required level - but that player won a silver medal at the Paralympic Games, so it can be an effective form of motivation if used correctly and sparingly.

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