Having played the same sport my whole life, the struggle to stay motivated is definitely something I’ve experienced. It can be so easy to show up to practice, go through the motions, then leave and go about your day. But what does it really mean to “show up”?
Take that phrase to heart. “Showing up” is not just about being physically present but mentally present as well. It means having intent with everything that you do in a given space. And what does that look like? To me, that looks like bringing the energy to support my teammates, being deliberate with every rep, and thinking about how I can improve. It’s a practice of constant accountability- for myself and my teammates. My lack of focus during practice can pull other people into that same mindset too – before you know it, it becomes a domino effect.
In the attempt to rally some motivation, people often say to keep your eye on the prize and to focus on your end goal. For collegiate beach volleyball, we start training in the fall for a spring season that seems so far away. With the same weekly training schedules, practices start to feel repetitive. So how do I combat that trap of monotony? I focus on the little steps, the steps I need to get to the end goal. You may have heard me say this before, but it truly is the mindset of getting 1% better each day. Go into practice with the intention of setting a goal and working to accomplish it, no matter how small that might be. Even if that goal is to be intentional! Cultivating and truly practicing this mindset will allow you to drive your focus towards the bigger picture: the prize.
But (and this is a very important ‘but’), there are days when “showing up” is hard. When you’re having a rough day or something’s dragging you down, you might not have the energy or mental capacity to perform as you would on a “good” day. And that’s okay. Your 100% on one day might look like 80% on another. On days like these, I give myself grace because I know that I’m giving my all, whatever my “all” looks like that day.
Having motivation, having something that drives you, is so crucial. And it’s important to take the steps to ensure that we stay motivated because it’s not something that is automatic or constantly accessible to us. So remember: set your intentions, work towards your goals, and practice kindness towards yourself throughout the process.