Motivating athletes is a challenge every coach faces. Motivation is essential for any athlete to reach the pinnacle of competition. Football, basketball and soccer players, ice skaters, gymnasts, runners and all other types of athletes at some point need to be motivated to perform at their highest potential. They all work toward reaching an ultimate goal and, after they’ve put everything they have into the hours, weeks, months and sometimes years of hard work, it’s common to run out of steam when they get to the edge of achieving their goal. At those vital times, as well as throughout training, motivation can come from a number of sources. Motivational speakers, other athletes who have walked the path of competition, sports motivational books…all are valuable resources when a competitor needs the push to get them over the finish line.
Of all these resources, good sports books may be the most useful. Often sports motivational books are written by the other two motivational resources: motivational speakers and other athletes. While it’s valuable to hear their advice spoken, there’s an advantage to having their words and experiences down on paper where sections can be highlighted and referred back to as needed. Whether they’re books about success, sports biographies or just general books for motivating athletes, it’s worth the time to search out the books that speak to you and inspire you on to the next level.
Advice From Trainers and Coaches
Coaches and trainers are the ones who professional athletes look to for inspiration and motivation, so it makes sense that amateurs, including school athletes and those who play and compete for personal fulfillment, would benefit from the words of wisdom they have to offer. Want to inspire your little league team? Have an aspiring gymnast on your hands? Maybe you, yourself, are “this” close to going pro on the tennis court. Fortunately for you, motivation sports books have been written by the likes of Mike Ditka, Bela Karolyi, Nick Bollettieri and more.
- “The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent .” Arnold Schwarzenegger
- “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.” Vince Lombardi
- “Gold medals aren’t really made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called guts.” Dan Gable
- “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky
The list could go on and on. There are a lot of sports greats, and the advice they have to give is priceless. There’s a reason everyone — not just athletes and sports fans — hangs on every word of the sound-bites from sports legends. They’ve achieved unprecedented success and set the bar even higher for those who come afterward, so it’s inspirational to hear their experience-based thoughts on strategy, drive and determination, and to know what mindset they maintained to become winners and to continue to be winners. Especially motivating are the quotes that reveal superstars to be just as human as the next guy. Case in point, Michael Jordan’s words on success:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
You can find numerous Internet sites that list sports-related motivational quotes, but it’s also easy to find more than one motivation sports book for motivating athletes that contains the same or similar quotes. One such book by Kim Doren, “If Winning Were Easy, Everyone Would Do It,” is chock-full of succinct, uplifting and motivational words from winning Olympians, football and basketball players, swimmers, golfers and coaches. The book isn’t just for sports enthusiasts. As Doren points out in the introduction, although the quotes are directly about the preparation, training, character and skills required to win, they are valuable for applying to other areas of life such as relationships, education and business.
Sports Psychology Books for Motivating Athletes
Motivation in any undertaking, including sports, can be difficult to maintain because it isn’t an element that can’t be manipulated with physical rewards. Sure, it’s nice to get that gold medal, trophy or Super Bowl ring as a memento of your success, but having those material items aren’t why you compete. It’s definitely about accomplishment, but it isn’t a simple, tangible issue. When you drill down to the very basest reasons for why anyone aims for the greatness they desire, it’s mostly about feelings. How it will feel to perfect the skills and master the training and/or game.
Considering that, ultimately, feelings are at the basis for competing in athletics, some of the top sportsbooks for motivation have to do with psychology. Many have been written by psychologists who specialize in sports. These professional psychologists have studied what makes athletes tick, why they do what they do and what are the best motivating factors for different competitors. The Sports Performance Bulletin reveals that there are many different types of motivation for athletes, and there are even more different books on motivating athletes. They may not be out on the main shelves alongside the latest biographies or popular fiction but, whatever approach you want to study, you can find sports books for motivating athletes on topics such as:
- Self-Determination Theory
- Complete Immersion or “Flow” Theory
- Social Comparison Goals
- Extrinsic Rewards
Athletes’ Personal Stories
Motivating athletes or motivating your sports team is often accomplished by using quotes directly from sports superstars. Quotes straight from sports stars’ mouths can inspire and motivate, so can their personal stories. Sports biographies are very motivational and among the best books about success. They often occupy spots on the New York Times Best Sellers list, and it’s not always because of the big names about which they’re written. The lives of people such as Sandy Koufax, Muhammed Ali, Michael Jordan and Manny Pacquiao interest a broad audience because not only have they mastered their respective sports, but they’ve done so while living lives worth reading about.