Too good to be true? Building a totally committed team

If you coach long enough, there comes a moment in every coach’s career when they realize that giving another fiery motivational speech or trying to get their kids to really care by using a series of rewards and punishments just doesn’t change anything.

The old Carrot & Stick just doesn't work like it used to.

Usually that’s followed by a period of frustration and choosing to ignore the problem and focus on other things.

Ignoring the problem doesn’t fix it though and it never goes away, so it slowly eats at us, and all that same time it keeps our team from ever reaching its true potential.

Ugh.. double whammy of frustration…

Then typically comes the first “a-ha moment.”


What all coaches eventually realize is that trying to motivate our kids just doesn’t work that well.

The problem we all face is that motivation is fleeting: we might fire our kids up for a few minutes, but it just doesn’t last.

And that kinda sucks.

The real issue we all come to terms with here is that motivation is just another emotion - like excitement, anger or joy. And emotions don’t last. 

That's exactly why intrinsic motivation is so important: because it’s NOT really the same thing as motivation. It’s not an’s a mindset. 

It’s powerful and it’s lasting. And it’s what drives athletes (or anyone else for that matter!) to greatness.

So then what?

Well, usually, then we struggle. And that’s where most of us get stuck. Unfortunately, some coaches spend their careers stuck here.

Unless they reach “a-ha moment” number two.

"Now I'm pointing the other way!"

That’s when we realize that if we can just wrap our heads around what’s going on beneath the surface with our kids, we can actually build true intrinsic motivation!

The real thing. The good stuff.  Not just the fleeting emotion we create with a locker room speech or a round of sprints.

That’s where the next part of this blog post comes in...

I recently had a great talk with my friends J.P. Nerbun and Nate Sanderson on their Coaching Culture Podcast where we got REALLY deep into the psychology, frameworks, tips and tactics to get you to that 2nd “a-ha moment” in your own program and build a team that's committed, motivated and dedicated to each other and to being the best they can be. 

I shared some stuff on the podcast I’ve never even written about before that I think you’re gonna love.

You’re gonna wanna get out your notebook for this one!

Check it out here:

Here’s some of the stuff we cover (and timestamps to make it easy for you to find!):

  • 4:30 - The critical difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, why understanding the difference is so important, and where 95% of coaches get stuck on this (and exactly what to do about it to get unstuck!)
  • 6:30 - What, exactly, are the ABCD's of intrinsic motivation and how you can use them to your advantage?
  • 7:00 - Autonomy. What it is. Why it's so important and how it can be one of your new secret weapons.
  • 8:50 - The two critical elements that make autonomy so effective. Get these right and you're guaranteed to see results.
  • 11:05 - The two crazy, positive side-effects you get from giving your kids more autonomy that no one ever talks about. 
  • 15:00 - Concrete tactics, strategies and ideas you can use TODAY to build more autonomy into your program.
  • 21:20 - The most fundamental element of coaching and why it's so important to your team's success.
  • 23:50 - The little known secret behind building strong bonds in your program (it’s not what you think it is!) and some ideas to get this going in your program right now.
  • 26:00 - A really powerful (and fun!) tactic to build strong bonds in your program from athlete to athlete right at the beginning of your season - before you really need it!
  • 29:15 - The single-best tactic I’ve ever found to keep our kids relaxed going into the post-season and make our team stronger than ever.

Hope this helps guys! Happy to answer any questions in the comments below!

Want more strategies, tactics and ideas just like this?

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About the Author

Pete Jacobson has been a varsity HS coach in New York for over 20 years. He works with coaches of all levels through WinSmarter to help them build Championship Cultures in all parts of their programs, have a greater positive impact and go home happy. Check out 10 Insanely Powerful Tactics for an Amazing Team Culture for some of the most unique, impactful tactics you can use to build a Championship Culture quickly.

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