Every day we have choices to make and with each of those choices comes a certain level of motivation. We have to decide when and how motivated we are to get out of bed when the alarm goes off or if we hit the snooze button for a little more rest. Our children can go to school with a high level of motivation to learn and enjoy the day or leave dragging their feet not happy that they have to go to school.
Depending on the level of motivation we have with each decision = the level of success we will have.
Dragging feet to school = probably not learning all we can
Going to work excited for a new day = more work accomplished at a higher level and turns into a promotion, pay raise or even just security in a job
Getting out of bed looking forward to the day = seeing the good as the day goes on and probably more accomplished
These are just a few quick examples, but the biggest trick is figuring out what our motivation is. . .why do we do what we do? Do we enjoy what we are doing? Are we doing what we are doing for gain only? Are we doing it because we want to make a difference? Win or lose, are we motivated to be better and learn?
Our youngest, 9 years old, is intense. He is very passionate about everything he chooses to do. He loves math so he sits and makes up math problems and had times tables memorized by first grade. He LOVES reading and makes time each day to read. As he reads you can tell the emotion of the book by his sounds, actions and excitement in his face. He loves learning to play the piano so he practices a lot. He likes to go back to piano progressing further than what the teacher has asked of him.
One of his GREATEST passions is SPORTS. Whatever sport he is playing at the time, he goes outside and works at being better every single day. He expects himself to put forward his very best. He surrounds himself with people that have the same passion. Therefore, he finds himself winning a lot. A loss is extremely devastating to him. It is very unacceptable to him, because he does what he loves and is motivated to do better.
Over the years our boys have wanted to try out a Super League Baseball season, but we have not been sure this is what we wanted to do. Because of Tanner's motivation we gave in and decided to give it a try this Fall. Rick decided he would coach, because we weren't sure what the season would bring. Rick contacted the other coaches in the city league and got names of other boys that would enjoy doing a Fall Competitive League. He also got a few names off of the Fall League site and invited them to be on the team.
We now had a team of 12 boys that didn't all know each other, a coach that had never coached in this league, keeping costs down so going with a known team name instead of making up a team name (which no else in the league had done) and their first games cancelled due to rain. The next game was a tournament against teams that had played together for years with matching bags, helmets, etc. You get the idea. . .a Sandlot idea.
Needless to say, the tournament didn't turn out well for our team. It was pretty much a comedy of errors and the boys losing confidence that they could beat a team. It was a tough 4 games.
The next week the team won one of their games, but that is all that they have won all season. We had another tournament in Logan and it was similar to the first tournament, but our boys were making progress. The boys still hadn't gelled together like the other teams. Rick took advantage of the time in Logan and invited the boys and families to join together for dinner, a game of parents vs kids and then swimming at the pool. In the morning the families had breakfast together at 6:30 a.m. before heading to the field at 7:30 a.m.
The boys continued to show improvement, but two weeks ago at the end of the game the boys were totally discouraged, their actions on the field showed they had given up and the coaches sat on the bench and didn't know how to motivate them anymore. I got a text from Rick saying, "I give up. They just don't care. I can't help that."
At the end of the game the coaches weren't even sure if they were going to gather the boys and talk to them. It seemed like all hope was lost.
It was time to regroup. There were 6 games left and the boys have the talent to win, they just needed to find their motivation. The next week there were practices, but the Friday before games Rick decided to have a party with the team. It wasn't a party to celebrate the losses, but to revive their motivation. To figure out what motivates them and figure out why they all want to play and love about the game.
The whole team came and they started with dinner - pizza and celebrating one of their teammates birthday. There were two separate tables for them to sit at, but they all wanted to sit together so we slid the tables together. Then they went to playing with water balloons. Not the way you would envision. The boys lined up and Rick would throw "fly water balloons" and they had to catch them or get wet. Then he would throw a straight shot balloon from 1st to 3rd and the boys would need to catch them. They loved it! They were having fun, but learning baseball skills.
Then they went into a room with a big screen and watched a few different aspects of baseball. They watched Professional Baseball highlights. They loved it and were cheering loudly and commenting on how cool the plays were. Then Rick showed them bloopers. They were saying things like, "I can't believe they missed it" or "Why did they throw the ball to that base" or "We haven't made that mistake." Then Rick showed "You Make the Call." He would show a play and the boys had to say what the call should be. They had so much fun with all of the clips.
After all of those clips Rick had a heart to heart with the boys. He asked them what the difference was between the bloopers and the highlights. Why did some of the plays get caught and why did some miss the balls. The boys were answering things like, "They were paying attention" "They were fast" "They thought ahead" "They did their very best". There is a boy that hasn't been sure he wanted to be playing and even when asked whether he wanted to be at school or at the baseball field he would say he would rather be at school. He quietly raised his hand and waited for Rick to call on him. Rick called on him and he said, "They were having fun." He had smiled the whole evening and had a great time with the team.
We left that evening thinking the boys were feeling motivated to go out and win. We were excited for the next day to see how this motivational evening carried over into the games. Unfortunately, the rain came and the games were cancelled so we didn't get to see the effects of the party immediately.
Early this morning the boys had a double header. They all showed up with smiles on their faces and ready to play. They hit the ball better, they got the outs and had fewer errors. The feeling was positive and fun. They didn't win either game, but they scored points, hit the ball better, had fewer errors and had a great time.
They have found their motivation. Their "why" they play baseball. We might not always "win" with the things that we love and put our efforts towards, but if we know our "why" to be motivated we will have a desire to keep improving, learning, finding answers and solutions and keep pressing forward until we do "win."
It will mean so much more to us and our motivation will build momentum. We will find that the things we are successful at are things that are "fun."
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