Participation in the team increases the influence of a leader on his team enabling cooperation, responsibility and trust on each other. Helping the team increases the respect of the coach and the team participants can value their coach’s advice more by increased trust and respect level. In addition to these potential benefits team collaboration and participation also creates psychological benefits. It increases team motivation level, spirit to excel, and they are more encouraged to perform better if coaches participate effectively in the team.
The National Governing Body for Canoeing is responsible for creating guidelines and coaching frameworks in the United Kingdom for canoeing sport. They also provide coaching and competition opportunities on national and international levels. The coaches in the organization use several participation and motivation techniques to increase the performance of the athletes in the sport. Canoeing being a totally participation based sport needs the combined effort of all team members as well as the coaches to achieve the goal.
What is needed for active team participation? The answer to this question like every new initiative is “motivation’.
To find the motivation for participation various psychology researchs have provided methods that can be used to motivate athletes in sports. The first and most common motive that every athlete has is the “competing motive” (Clancy et al 2016). People may want to perform well in the team to compete with other teams and gain popularity in the society. The coach’s first task should be to find the motivation of participation and then polish it to achieve positive participation and eventually positive results.
The second biggest category for motivation can be the athlete’s personal motivation. This motivation can be unique in every teammate. The most common motives for participation are fitness, daring, pleasure, social or family respect, patriotism or self-improvement (Clancy et al 2016). Athletes can share their personal motivation or can have a unique set of motivations, but for an active participation, the coaches have to find these motivations as they become the basis for player actions afterwards.
What can be done to enhance motivation? As said before that having complete knowledge of athletes motivation is necessary for coaches. After finding this motivation the coaches have to just “light a spark” when any athletes are demotivated. This spark can be initiated by various techniques. The most popular and most effective technique is setting team goals. In setting the goals the coaches have to plan short term goals in addition to the end long-term goals (Madigan et al 2017). For example, if a team is wanted to win the Slalom World Cup 1 to be held in Slovakia this year, the coaches have to set short-term goals like winning the qualifying round and semifinal to finally reach the World Cup 1 final. It has a psychological reason because when a person achieves short-term goals he gets motivated to work for the big ones too.
Another effective technique to enhance motivation can be the “Positive self-talk technique”.
This technique is aimed to increase athlete’s self-esteem and performance in the sport. By talking positively coaches can make athletes focus on the task at hand and can improve athlete’s mood by mood-related self-talk (Van Raalte et al 2016). The last stage of this technique is self-affirmation in which athletes explore his potential and recognizes his true potential.
Coaches of canoeing teams must focus on the behaviours of athletes that discourages participation in the team. Every athlete has his unique behaviour and if his behaviour is restricting team participation, the behaviour needs to be changed. There exist various techniques of behaviour modification. The one that is recommended for canoe athletes is the positive reinforcement technique. This method uses the power of appraisal when any athlete exhibits the desired behaviour. The coaches have to understand that no behaviour change can occur in nick of time and has to determine the progress rate evaluation methods to govern the behaviour change.
In the positive reinforcement process, the coaches have to be careful in not refusing any demands that do not conflict with their athletic performance (Martin et al 2015). The athletes should have a liberty to live their normal life, eat whatever they want, and any other activity that does not directly affect their performance, athletes should not be restricted from them. Team participation to achieve a common goal can be drastically increased by using this technique.
The second method that can be used is the tactical ignoring method. By showing no reaction to a bad behaviour and ignoring the person initiates thought of rejection and cutoff in him (Martin et al 2015). By ignoring the ill behaviour and not showing any reward eventually leads to changing the behaviour. However, care should be taken in the ignoring process as too much ignorance further demotivates the athlete and may rise thoughts of incompetency, hate and decrease the confidence of the athlete.
The third technique that is only to be used if a behaviour starts harming others is the mild to strong punishment technique. An example of this technique can be ordering a player to do pushups or extra exercise if he misbehaves with a fellow player. Removal from the team or disqualification from participating in a competition is more severe punishments which should be avoided.
These motivation and behaviour improvement techniques are not limited to sports and they can be used to improve habits in employees, students, patients and children. Using these techniques, coaches can successfully achieve the goal of team participation. Finding the motivation will act as a spark and positive behaviour modification will give it a blow to elevate an athlete’s self-confidence, team participation and positive behaviour that are required for every team to excel and prove themselves in the world.
Clancy, R.B., Herring, M.P., MacIntyre, T.E. and Campbell, M.J., 2016. A review of competitive sport motivation research. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 27, pp.232-242.
Madigan, D.J., Stoeber, J. and Passfield, L., 2017. Perfectionism and achievement goals revisited: The 3× 2 achievement goal framework. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 28, pp.120-124.
Martin, G. and Pear, J.J., 2015. Behavior modification: What it is and how to do it. Psychology Press.
Ntoumanis, N., Quested, E., Reeve, J. and Cheon, S.H., 2017. Need supportive communication: Implications for motivation in sport, exercise, and physical activity. Persuasion and communication in sport, exercise, and physical activity. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
Van Raalte, J.L., Vincent, A. and Brewer, B.W., 2016. Self-talk: Review and sport-specific model. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 22, pp.139-148.