What is it that inspires an athlete to do his best when his best is required? Will motivation by anger, fear, recognition and revenge win games?
“Time spent getting even would be better spent getting ahead. We can’t reach our potential when we lose efficiency. When we try to get even, we lose focus on what’s at hand and we fail to do the things we need to do to accomplish our task. Thinking about getting even takes our minds off our objectives.”
Much the same could be said for attempting to motivate with anger, fear, and physical rewards. Sooner or later these attempts at motivating wear off and the harsh reality is that being motivated by any of these methods indeed takes our mind off our objective.
If keeping our mind on the objective is as important as Coach Wooden suggests, what then should be the motivation for the Christian athlete or coach to reach the potential that God has given us? The apostle Paul wrote,
Therefore, brothers by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.(Romans 12:1). Although Paul is not writing this specifically to athletes or coaches, the abilities of an athlete are included in the word “bodies”. The Christian athlete and coach’s objective should be to use all of their physical and mental talents for God’s purpose. God desires that every Christian express his love for Him by giving every ounce of energy and ability he has been allotted.
God has expressed His love for us by the gift of His Son on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. In Mark 12:30 Jesus instructs us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with your entire mind, and with all your strength.” Athletes and coaches have a great opportunity every practice session and athletic contest to respond to God’s great love by unleashing their mental and physical athletic abilities to honor Him. Motivation that honors Jesus will be much longer lasting than motivation that relies on anger, fear, revenge, and physical rewards.
Legendary coach John Wooden spoke to the revenge motive in his book, One on One when he said.Print this Page