#193: Athlete Tip: How to Stay Motivated When You Don’t Feel Like It

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You know those days when you just don’t want to go to practice?

I get it, everyone feels that way sometimes. But the best athletes don’t let a lack of motivation stop them.

I want to share some of my secrets for staying on track, even when you’d rather just chill on the couch. But first, a shout out to an awesome athlete in our Elite Mental Game program. This athlete recently realized she wasn’t beating herself up about her mistakes – such a big win! It proves changing your mindset can transform your entire game.

Why Are You Playing?

So, about that motivation problem. Before we dive into solutions, let’s get down to basics: why play your sport in the first place? Why do you dedicate so much time and so much energy to it? Maybe it’s that college scholarship, or just wanting to feel better and stronger. We all have a reason.

See, if you don’t know where you’re headed with your sport, it’s tough to stay motivated. It’s like starting a road trip without plugging the destination into your GPS. So, take some time and figure out YOUR goals.

Motivation is a Flaky Friend

Here’s the thing – and we talk about this all the time in our program – motivation is terrible at showing up consistently. Sure, you’re excited at the start of the season. But as that newness wears off, staying motivated is way harder, right?

You can’t wait for the FEELING to train. Successful athletes use discipline. That means doing what you say, even when you don’t feel like it. So, create a plan, set specific goals, and stick to them.

Discipline Over Motivation

Take those goals and turn them into actionable steps. Want to improve ball control? Schedule specific practice sessions, track your progress, and hold yourself accountable. Remember, small consistent actions lead to big results.

Think about it: if you don’t have a training schedule, you’re less likely to follow through. So, if you want to make varsity or play in college, you have to put in the work. This might mean doing extra sessions beyond your regular practices. Here’s the key:

  • Be specific. Decide exactly when and where you’ll do your training. Don’t put it off for some vague ‘later’ – schedule it into your day. I suggest Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for those 15-minute ball control sessions.
  • Track it. Put your plan on a calendar! Checking off those sessions feels awesome and keeps you accountable.

Not Every Practice Will Be Awesome: Embrace the Rule of Thirds

Being an athlete isn’t all great games and amazing wins. The “rule of thirds” reminds us there are going to be rough days. That’s just how it goes!

Instead of freaking out after one bad practice (we’ve all done it!), accept this: about a third of your practices will be just okay, another third will actually feel like setbacks, but hey, the remaining third will be those awesome days that keep you going. Focus on progress, not perfection.

Give What You Have

Look, nobody is full of energy 24/7. Some days you’ll show up to practice tired, cranky, maybe even after having a fight. That doesn’t mean you get to skip it.

On those days, make sure to check in with yourself. Maybe you’ve only got 50% to give, but decide that you’re giving all of that 50% during practice. No slacking allowed, even with limited energy. More often than not, once you get going, you’ll realize you’ve got way more to give than you thought. Pushing through those low-energy days builds character and resilience!

Final Thoughts

Athletes, if you take anything away from this, remember: ditch the excuses and embrace discipline. Motivation won’t always be there, but your commitment can be.

So, what’s ONE thing from today’s episode that you’re going to commit to doing differently this week? Here are a few ideas: write down your goals – are you aiming for varsity, a scholarship, or just feeling stronger and more confident? Make a schedule for your extra training sessions – be specific about the days, the duration, and the exercises you’ll do. Change your mindset – next time you have a rough practice, remember the “rule of thirds”. It happens, so refocus on getting better tomorrow.

Pick one, commit, and let’s get to work!

Episode Highlights: 

[00:09] Staying motivated as an athlete, even when you don’t feel like it.

[02:01] Motivation and discipline in sports. Motivation is inconsistent and unreliable, while discipline is key to achieving goals.

[03:20] Importance of setting goals and knowing your “why”.

[06:11] Motivation and goal-setting for athletes. Tools for athletes to stay motivated and disciplined, such as the rule of thirds and giving what they have.

[07:30] Importance of creating a schedule and tracking your progress.

[08:50] The “Rule of Thirds” for training sessions.

[09:35] The “Give What You Have” mentality.

[11:20] Summary/Recap of staying motivated.

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