How do we motivate players through COVID uncertainty?
This response relates only to the question and should not be extrapolated. There is never one situation that is identical to another and sometimes even the smallest detail matters.
Anon from the Sydney suburb of Randwick plays football and asks “The club is finding it difficult to engage with players during COVID, many who have come back to playing recently. Even our really gifted players (Juniors U18s) don’t seem as interested in skills development and training. How can we help them through this period of uncertainty?”
Our Panel Of Expertise panellist, Peter Robinson, has responded to the question:
Uncertainty creates different feelings and emotions for all of us, and we can never assume we are at the same level in our emotional state. Challenge the players on what’s their WHY? “What is your reason of being and why is this important to YOU?” If they have already done this, you could get them to repurpose their why.
Have the players and coach write this down and put it in an area that is visible for themselves and their teammates to see (back of their locker is a suggested area). Understanding your why helps motivate when things become hard and tough and we feel like quitting. Having this information is a great way of connection for your club. They become talking points for the coach and teammates to use, makes the player connect their personal story and passions to the objectives of the club, and provokes gratitude for the opportunity they have. You could get the coach to share his response and invite some players to follow.
Off-field balance translates to on-field performance. Encourage and highlight the fact that “you don’t rise to the occasion, rather, you sink to the level of your training”. That is why preparation is the key.
A professional athlete for 7 years with the Melbourne Storm, Peter managed his own successful transition to a role where he now assists the Storm athletes with their wellbeing, education and career development. Originally from country NSW with a proud indigenous heritage, Peter does a lot of work with local teams and Indigenous communities, to strengthen their cultural engagement and to position leaders in their community. Visit all of Peter’s responses to the Panel Of Expertise here.
While all attempts have been made to verify the accuracy of the information provided in this written response, the Panel Of Expertise panellists assumes no responsibility for any errors or omissions. Should a sports club face any difficulties as a result of acting on the advice, it is recommended that they seek out independent professional technical support to rectify the situation. The Club Respect panellists will not be held responsible for any repercussions beyond the scope of this response.