Neuroscience gives us an insight into what drives youth in today’s new age. And guess what? It’s DIFFERENT from even 5 years ago. I don’t have time to go deep into all of the human drives but two of them are immediately relevant.
Not knowing these two drives will cause you to continue wondering, "How do I motivate my athlete!? How do I get them to do the things they don't want to do?"
These drives will change everything for you as a parent or coach.
Novelty and Challenge.
For a while I got lucky. Pure excitement, energy, and motivation from me appeared to rub off on the athletes I worked with. It appeared to motivate them. But it really only motivated them when they were with me. That is a big difference between mindset and motivation.
Mindset motivates a person when they are not with you, whereas motivation is dependent on you.
In this article we are going to focus only on the first of the two. Novelty.
Novelty means newness. At PFP we understand that if we continue to say the same things the way we have always said it, our athletes will eventually turn a deaf ear to it.
Sameness is the enemy of newness and consequently the enemy of motivation and drive.
If we continue to run the same drills, exercises, and game plan the same way we have always ran it, our athletes will experience the two B’s: Burnout and Boredom.
It makes me a bit nauseous when I hear coaches say, “This is the way we have always done it and it has worked in the past. Fundamentals. Simple. Stick to the basics.”
That is close-minded and short-sighted coaching. And it doesn’t work for today’s athlete.
Newness is a necessity to create an unparalleled hunger and drive deep within the athletes you work with. It takes the pressure off you as a coach to constantly be the master motivator. It gives you a system that assistant coaches can learn and deploy consistently.
5 Ideas for Newness
1. Switch up practice locations. Every Friday, caravan the team to a new spot. New scenery, environments, smells, and sounds creates the novelty needed to stay engaged.
2. Bring a new game to practice. Instead of wind sprints at the end of practice, make Monday’s game-play. Tug of war, competitive tag, obstacle courses, etc. Believe it or not, the team unity and camaraderie that comes from just one day a week of this will help your team win games more than 20 more minutes of conditioning per week.
3. Take your team to an experience, event, or sporting game.
4. Share a new life lesson with the team via a story or metaphor.
5. Bring in a guest speaker.
6. Have them read a book together. The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon is a great one (audiobook works too, I know kids don't like reading).
If you are a parent reading this and you feel unhopeful that your athlete’s coach will ever provide this, I encourage you to contact us ASAP to schedule a Success Session.
Clearly, novelty and challenge are needed to help your athlete be their best and realize their potential. Without it, they will be missing a key drive that will help them experience life on a whole different level of enthusiasm and engagement.