By: Oscar Collins
Provided by: Amplified Soccer
Now that sports are getting back into full swing, what can you do to spur your team to victory? It's your job as a coach to restore your players' passion for the game.
With that in mind, here are 10 ideas for motivating your players to improve.
1. Share Inspirational Films
Why not set up a showing of your favorite inspirational soccer films to reignite your team's passion? You can't go wrong with classics like "There's Only One Jimmy Grimble" or "Bend It Like Beckham."
For even more team spirit, rent a projector and screen from your local library. Have a picnic-style "drive-in" experience with your teammates and their families.
2. Dangle a Carrot
Maybe you decided to pair a "pizza" technique with a little incentive at one of your practices. Most everyone loves a good pie, and a party can rebuild camaraderie if your team has spent the past few months apart.
Could your team use a new look? Why not use the lure of new jerseys as an incentive? If they reach an achievable goal, you'll update their uniform.
3. Mix up Your Practice
Who said you had to spend every practice running foot drills? Cross-training is a thing. Inspire your players to develop upper-body strength by taking them to a boxing gym. Plan a long-distance trail bike ride through a nearby state park. A little variety will keep your players on their toes.
4. Vary Your Workout Intensity
Are you one of those coaches who works your team extra hard after a loss? If so, you might want to reconsider your approach. It's challenging to feel motivated when physically exhausted.
After each grueling practice, schedule a rest day followed by one or two more moderate-intensity workouts. Learn the signs of excess exertion and caution your players to stop before they overdo it and end up on the disabled list.
5. Set Realistic Goals
The best goals are SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. "Win every match this season" meets several qualifications but isn't likely attainable. Instead, look at your stats - shooting for winning 60% of your matchups is more realistic, especially if you have many younger, less experienced players.
6. Hang Out Off the Field
The best teams in sports have incredible chemistry. You can tell the players mesh both on and off the field. It's a good idea to encourage this camaraderie in your teammates. You can facilitate friendships by putting together activities during the off-season, such as a goal-kicking tournament or even a general mixer around the holidays.
7. Establish On-Field Trust
Try as you will, you might not be able to encourage friendships during the off-season. However, you can put your practice time to use developing on-field trust.
One activity involves nearly everyone's favorite - food. Why not have a potluck? Once everyone's enjoyed delicious snacks, you can break out more team-building activities.
One good idea is using nostalgia to build trust. Have players bring in a beloved photo of a pet or something else they adore to share around the table. Afterward, you can have more experienced players share valuable soccer skills with newer recruits.
8. Commend Small Successes
Imagine how you would feel if you got a promotion at work or finally lost that last pesky 10 pounds - and nobody noticed or said congratulations. You probably wouldn't want to repeat your efforts.
Laziness is its own reward, so please notice and applaud your player's accomplishments, no matter how small. If it's someone's first time scoring a goal, fuss and clap them on the back. If you want to give them a Gatorade bath, ensure there's water nearby for washing up and cooling down.
9. Redefine Success
Is your team coming off a string of losses? If so, it might be too late for them to recapture any championship dreams this season. However, there's more to sports than bringing home a pennant or trophy.
Before each practice and game, redefine how you will measure success. If you have had a recent slew of injuries, it might involve nothing more than getting through your match without losing another player. Encourage everyone to set a modest goal, like making at least three blocks or advancing the ball X number of yards down the field.
10. Emphasize How Much You Believe in Them
Words matter. Emphasize to your players how much you believe in them regardless of whether you win or lose.
Remember, sports teach so much more than how to win. They also help kids learn how to lose gracefully and come back from defeat. Embrace these lessons and let your players know you are proud of them for making progress.
Motivate Your Players with These 10 Ideas
It might take a little extra work to get your team back in the swing of things after the past year's quarantines. Use these ideas to motivate your players to be the best they can.
Author Bio: Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded. He writes about cars, fitness, the outdoors and more. Follow @TModded on Twitter for more articles from the Modded team.