What’s Your Motivation?

Motivation is an important component to an athletes success. Depending on the athlete, motivation can be achieved in many different ways.

Imagine you play in the MLB and just came off one of the best seasons that any player in your franchise has ever had. Imagine that you led the National League in home runs (39), runs batted in (126), and runs scored (115), and stole 40 bases on top of it all. Imagine your defense at the center field position was so superb that you were rewarded the Golden Glove award, which is given to the top defensive player for each position. Imagine that nearly everybody felt you deserved to win the National League Most Valuable Player Award because of your extraordinary value. Imagine that all this happened, but the MVP award was given to somebody else.

This is exactly what happened to Matt Kemp of the Los Angeles Dodgers this week. Kemp had a memorable and historic 2011 campaign, but was robbed of the MVP award. Instead, the award was given to Ryan Braun from the Milwaukee Brewers. Although Braun did have a tremendous year, he lacked the overall value that Kemp added to his team. Although there has been a mild uproar since this news came out, what’s done is done. Braun won. Kemp did not.

The disappointment of finishing second in the MVP voting has not deflated Kemp’s spirits. In fact, it has quickly turned into a direct form of motivation. Kemp’s immediate response to the MVP let down displays how an athlete can take personal misfortune and turn it into fuel to outperform every opponent in sight. Kemp stated, “I’m going to go 50-50 next year. I’m telling you, y’all created a monster.” 50-50 means hitting 50 home runs and stealing 50 bases – something that’s never been done before.

At a time when Kemp could have sulked or got upset, he used the news as motivation to get even better next year. Instead of blaming other people, he blamed himself for not making it an easy decision for the voters.

Every competitive athlete should learn from how Kemp coped with the situation. He used the 2nd place MVP finish as motivation. Now, he’s more determined than ever to work on his game and prove that he’s the best player in baseball. It shows Kemp’s self-confidence. It shows that Matt Kemp has motivation to be the most successful baseball player next year. While other players have motivation to not fail, so that they remain in the big leagues or sign contract extensions, Kemp is motivated to be the most successful. That is one of the biggest mental differences between Kemp and the rest of the league.

In order to be successful in any sport, one must be truly motivated to achieve success. Each athlete must find what motivates him/her. Take a look at different aspects of your life to see what motivates you. It can be a positive or negative experience. It can be on or off the field/court of play. It can be a future goal you are looking to achieve. Look at your sport and situation and see what motivates you as you strive for success.

Sports Psychology/Mental Training from Mental Apex

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