Finding motivation in a COVID-19 sporting world
By iNSPIRE Sport
For the first time in many athlete’s careers, no matter what level, competition season is non-existent for the meantime. Enduring lockdowns and then getting back into the gym, onto the field or court has been difficult in itself, but the struggle for many won’t end there. Once the initial excitement of returning to sport surpasses, athletes must find motivation in a COVID-19 sporting world and keep things interesting. Below are some tips from iNSPIRE to help you continue to enjoy sport and approach an uncertain future with a positive mindset.
Short term goals vs long term goals
Due to the global pandemic and its implications, you have most likely had a big goal, whether it be a competition or tournament, either postponed or completely cancelled. Having something that you have put hundreds of hours into ripped away without warning, is hugely upsetting and can put you into a state of demotivation. These emotions are completely normal and valid, however, at some point they must be overcome so you can grow as both a person and an athlete. Let’s talk about the importance of short term goals that are within your control.
With no certainty of when the competition season may return, you must turn your focus to the goals that are within your control. Short term goals are a crucial part of the process – without smaller stepping stones, the bigger end goal doesn’t make sense. These short term goals can be created so they don’t rely on the global pandemic easing.
While competitions (often a long term kind of goal) are hugely motivational, there are ways to spark motivation outside of these settings. Set yourself small, realistic goals that are within your control. Weekly and daily goals are very effective in staying motivated and can be rewarding. For example, a gymnast could set the goal of sticking five dismounts throughout the week. Something as simple as this gives your week a focus and structure, all making a constructive difference to training during these times. Be sure to sit down with your coach/support team and discuss a plan that incorporates these methods.
Finding enjoyment in the little things
Perspective is something that has been repeatedly discussed throughout the pandemic. People are more aware of how important the little things are in everyday life. Use that newfound perspective and apply it to your daily training. Actively put effort into appreciating the time spent with your teammates and coaches, enjoying the process of building back to fitness and achieving a new skill or doing it again for the first time since returning to training.
Remind yourself that it is okay to struggle mentally and/or physically when returning to training. It is a hard process but there is no need to make it more difficult by being too critical of yourself. Take your time, use breathing techniques found on the iNSPIRE Sport app to control your emotions and tell yourself it’ll be okay. Be proud of your small daily achievements and reward yourself for persevering. Know when, why and how to reflect… try to focus on the tasks that you and your teammates are doing well and do not dwell on the negatives.
All of these tips and advice mentioned above can help athletes find motivation in a COVID-19 sporting world. You can find more tips like these on the iNSPIRE Sport app – see for yourself via the links below.