• Angel Soto

3 Types of Motivation to Achieve Your Soccer Goals

Updated: Dec 17, 2018



Players often say that one of their biggest challenges is staying committed and motivated to their training.


We sometimes lose motivation when we hit a plateau. Plateaus in performance sometimes occur when you don’t see any measurable improvement even though you are working hard.


Thus, when you don’t see gains in performance, is it difficult for you to stay committed to your training program?


What is Commitment in Soccer?


Commitment is a type of motivation. It is the ability to stick with a program, method, or philosophy and apply it daily over a long period EVEN in times of adversity.


How Do You Stay Committed to Your Practice Plan And Goals in Soccer?


The first step to improving commitment is to identify beliefs or distractions that sabotage your motivation. Armed with this information, you are in a position to change your attitude for the better.


Three Ways Soccer Players Sabotage Their Own Commitment:


1. Impatience with improvement: Soccer players often want a quick fix, something that works immediately. If it does not work fast, they are prone to throw it away and not try it again.


Example: You want to start going 1v1 more but give up after losing the ball a few times.


2. Fear of trying and not succeeding: Are you afraid of going after your dream and not succeeding? There are no guarantees that if you work harder and put all your energy into getting better your game will improve. But some players can’t stomach the fear of not reaching their goals if they give it their all.


Example: You want so badly to make a top level team and freeze up at tryouts because you are focused on the fear of not making it.


3. Over-training Syndrome: Training too much can also cause you to spin your wheels because you are mentally and physically exhausted. Your body needs rest, your mind needs a break. Training is important, however, body recovery is vital to keeping your mind and body fresh. To learn more about muscle recover, check out latest blog, "Soccer Recovery: Train Hard, Recover Harder."


Example: You play everyday all year round without any recovery time. You are never at top speed and constantly experience nagging injury.


The fist step in making positive changes is to identify self-sabotaging beliefs, rationalizations, generalizations, or behaviors that undermine your motivation to be successful. Then you will be ready to change your behavior to increase commitment.




Motivation to Achieve Your Goals


It's no secret that the more motivation you have for your goals, the faster you’ll reach them in addition to achieving substantially more success in the long term. However, the problem is the majority of people have a really hard time waking up early, working harder than everyone else, and reaching their goals much faster.


"When you do the work that no one wants to do, you become more valuable."


Understand, these are not special skills only the select few are born with. Anyone can get into a routine of getting up at 5am if they really want to. Anyone can go from an average player to an elite player over a period of time. The problem is the majority of people don’t have that level of desire nor patience to do these difficult things.


The problem of “desire” leads us into the issue of external motivation. External motivation is you working for just money to get a car you’ve dreamed of or any kind of materialistic item you’ve set your heart on.


To clarify, I’m not saying materialism is bad. What I’m saying is it’s not wise to put external motivators as your main source of motivation for this very simple reason, it’s not a good long term source of motivation.


Once you have that car, house or financial income you wanted, then what’s next? Often times it leaves you with a feeling of emptiness because the satisfaction of getting your new car or house only lasts for a very short period of time. Then once you’ve achieved it, it becomes harder and harder to push for something new because there’s little to no inner drive to get up and achieve more.


Internal motivation changes this dynamic because the internal reward of mastery or purpose isn’t tangible. Instead it’s never ending and when something is never ending you just want to keep working more and more.


Below are the 3 different types of internal motivation you can start using today:


1. The Desire to Win

This comes from the legendary Tim Grover in his book Relentless where he talks about the unrelenting and never ending drive of his clients to win such as Michael Jordan (goat) and Kobe Bryant. All these guys wanted to do was win. The millions of dollars they earned were simply a bi product of their constant desire to win and reach their Goals.


To work this hard and for this many hours requires much greater motivation than simply money. On top of which, almost every single professional player, has said they’re not motivated by the money. Money is just a way of keeping score. It’s not the actual motivator.


“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napolean Hi


2. Purpose

This one is arguably the most important. Almost every single successful entrepreneur has some kind of bigger purpose motivating them. Take Elon Musk and Steve Jobs for example. The main difference between these two isn’t just their work ethic but the individual purpose each one of them has to work hard. You could argue these two entrepreneurs have had the biggest impact on the world we live in.


When you find a bigger purpose for your work you’ll surprise yourself at how much you start to enjoy what you’re doing. You may get external things as a result of your success but they’re not the driving force of why you wake up early everyday and get to work.


3. Mastery

The reason mastery of a specific craft or multiple skills is so important is because once again, it’s never ending. There isn’t a point in your journey where you can completely master something because there’s always another level to reach.


With all of the internal motivators especially mastery, it becomes difficult for other people around you to understand why you work so hard. Everyone around you is after the next pay check to buy a house or buy a new watch which they can show off to their friends.


Nonetheless, being motivated this way typically means the person has no real love for what they do because if they did love what they do, the real satisfaction would come from some internal driver like winning, getting better at their craft or working on towards their purpose every single day.


"You can have results or your can have excuses...you cannot have both."


It’s very easy to see a very wealthy person and see all the cars, glamour and big houses and think, they’re materialistic. But in almost every single case, these external things were simply a bi product of their success. They weren’t the motivator to be successful in the first place.


Once you change not only your level of desire but also the kind of desire, you completely change the game of success for yourself because now you’re in a position where you actually want to work hard.


You don’t have to feel like working hard or getting up early is a chore and I guarantee once you start to find powerful internal motivators, you’ll be surprised how much and how hard you want to work towards achieving your goals.


Do you have a mindset of a champion? See what these champions have to say about true, sustainable success:




While some of us can naturally maintain a relatively high constant level of motivation, others find it more difficult. This is actually a normal fact of life. After all, the beauty and richness of life is in our attempt to reconcile and manage our different states.


Here are a few simple things you can use to motivate yourself on a daily basis:


1. The habit of accomplishing one single task once you get out of bed

This may sound trivial but it can have tremendous impact on your energy level. Right when you wake up, one simple task such as making your bed, exercising or cooking breakfast can get you energized for the rest of the day.


Getting something done first thing in the morning will give you a sense of achievement which will, in turn impact the rest of your day. The little things do count. How will you ever find the motivation to accomplish a big task when you can’t even finish a small one? A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step…in the right direction!


2. Connect your small tasks to your values

In the first step, you may get something done, but if it is not in alignment with your values or beliefs you are less likely to feel empowered. Whatever the task you get done, frame it in relation to something that is important to you. You can apply this in your personal life, professional or spiritual life. Doing a task you know relates to something meaningful to you will give you the required energy to carry it until completion.


“I am not a perfectionist, but I like to feel that things are done well. More important than that, I feel an endless need to learn, to improve, to evolve, not only to please the coach and the fans but also to feel satisfied with myself. It is my conviction that here are no limits to learning, and that it can never stop, no matter what our age.” - Cristiano Ronaldo


3. The habit of crossing out tasks on your to-do list

You will feel more energized if you put your tasks on a sheet of paper because nothing is more motivating than crossing tasks off your to-do lists. This is a clear signal to your brain that you have been able to accomplish a particular task. That will generate a snowball effect since a single task accomplished and crossed out can have widespread effect on other tasks. Due to this, take up the habit of crossing out tasks on your to-do list.


4. The habit of being self-compassionate

We tend to be nice to other people. It is amazing to see how someone can be so empathetic and motivate another even when they are feeling down themselves. Paradoxically, instead of giving themselves a positive pep talk, they will go on a guilt trip. We are not trying to achieve perfection here, we are simply trying to do what we were born to do, grow!


It is okay if you did not finish a specific task today. Instead of complaining or blaming, make the decision right now, that you will complete this task tomorrow. Talk to yourself as you would to a good friend. Give yourself a second chance. Don’t engage in self-deprecating talk. Remember, no one or nothing can motivate you if you are not willing to give yourself a chance.


“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Dalai Lama


5. The habit of taking responsibility

It is amazing how much taking responsibility for our results can change our perspective. I have had the chance to work with small teams, and in my experience, I’ve learned that people get more motivated when they know they are responsible for the outcome of their tasks. Don’t wait for the situation to be agreeable to get motivated. Take responsibility for your task and see how much energy you will put into it. While hygiene factors can help motivate you, only when you know you are really responsible for the results of a particular task will you build motivation that lasts.



It's Time to Embrace the Suck



I suck at dribbling.

I suck at running for long periods of time.

I suck at attending training sessions because I just want action.



You will suck at your first soccer game.

You will suck at your first coaching job, and the one after that, and so on.

You will suck at giving your first halftime speech.



We all suck 24/7.



None of us are 100% motivated all the time.

None of us get anything right the first time – unless it’s a fluke.


We all have nightmares of our failures.

We all secretly want to be perfect – even me.


Making it through the suck will make you smarter, more courageous and help build a newfound resilience.


How Do We Embrace the Suck?


1. Be prepared to fail 2. Look like an idiot 3. Be willing to start at the bottom 4. Persevere 5. Challenge the critics


When everything sucks, get back up. Have a second go even if there’s no reason too. Back yourself and believe you can push through the suck.


Do not be afraid to fail!


"Failure will never overtake you, if your determination to reach your Goals is strong enough."


So many players quit just before they're about to succeed. It's that fear of failure that keeps so many from reaching their Goals.


Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts. Don't be afraid, keep grinding and understand that we are all capable of more than we know. Check the video below:



Embrace the Suck is a Call to Action.


It’s about being prepared to eat sh*t because the upside makes it worth it. It’s about doing what so many are not prepared to do because you believe in yourself.


It’s about taking action and executing instead of being a daydreamer and being stuck in a foreplay of ideas, dreams, goals that never happen.


Starting at the bottom and sucking harder is how you get to the top. Once you arrive at the top, make sure you help other people who are embracing the suck.


Let’s all commit to doing more things that suck and being okay with it. Let’s challenge each other to be courageous.


Embrace the suck because that’s what the people you idolize and anyone you’ve ever looked up to did. Embracing the suck is part of being an athlete, it's part of life.


“Hello, adversity. Come at me!”


The most important tip I can share is simple. Success is not earned by practice alone, it is generated through intelligent hard work and an inner desire to be successful.


Remember, it's ok to start small, even if you take baby steps toward consistent motivation in reaching your Goals. It's ok to fail, analyze your plan and adjust. Create momentum for yourself and build off that.


If all the proper coaching is in place, then it is up to you to have that intrinsic motivational desire to succeed, to battle in adversity.


Ability is important, desire and self-motivation is vital, so you as a player must look deep within and do it for yourself. Consistency is key to you reaching that Goal.


Stay Motivated!

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