Children cite many reasons for participating in sports. Additionally, there are a variety of factors that demotivate participation. In article two of United Futsal University’s Coaches and Parents series, a parent’s influence on motivation was discussed. In this article, (de)motivation is addressed with additional context.
Motivation can be broken down into intrinsic and extrinsic factors. According to sport psychology research, intrinsic motivation is the participation in activities for pleasure and satisfaction or doing something for its own sake (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Most of the reasons children play sports are of intrinsic nature (Weinberg & Gould, 2014). Examples of intrinsic motivational factors include: having fun, learning new skills, doing something you are good at, being with friends, establishing new friendships, maintaining fitness, doing exercises, and succeeding. In contrast, extrinsic motivation refers to participation with a means to an end and not for its own sake (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Extrinsic factors are reward-driven, with examples including praise, achievements, winning trophies, money, fame, etc. Studies have shown that both extrinsic and intrinsic factors motivate players. However, intrinsic factors tend to keep players motivated for a longer period (Weinberg & Gould, 2014).
In order to understand motivation, the subject and environment must be considered as well as how they interact. In other words, motivation does not result only from intrinsic factors— such as personality, interests, and objectives—nor only from extrinsic factors, such as match results and praise. The best way to understand motivation is to examine how these two factors interact (Weinberg & Gould, 2014).
Development setbacks or the lack of interest can ultimately result in a player unmotivated to compete in sports. As outlined during the Coaches and Parents series, youth athletes are in a critical stage of development. At times, the lapse of the motivational factors stated above can strip the desire to compete, and thus sideline players for good.