October 3, 2009

Over motivation produces negative performance results’ By Emmanuel Ojeme

By Emmanuel Ojeme
In Sports activities, athletes are usually encouraged through various means to raise their levels of athletic performance. The motivation of athletes to excel in performance is a principal role of coaches and sports administrators.

Athletes are motivated by all factors that can influence their performance, ranging from nutrition, training facilities, living environment, equipment, coaching and rewards and awards. These constitute the incentives that drive the athletes to elicit higher levels of performance.

Motivational strategies, though, are designed to increase the level of arousal or drive in the athlete and in turn the intensity of response to the athletic challenge, it can also produce negative results when it is overdose.  Motivation of athletes works best when all other factors are in place.

For example appropriate selection of athletes for their events, effective training and coaching, and matching of body types with events, among others. The critical issue however, is that motivation should be administered in the right dosage. An over dose of motivation is known as over motivation. Over motivation is known to produce negative performance results. It can also create a lot of pressure, anxiety and overreaction among athletes.

An over-motivated athlete or footballer can over reach himself or herself and cause a lot of damages or personal harm. It may even tempt athletes to seek illegal boosters such as drugs to attain performance goals because of the perceived returns of goal attainment. From the foregoing, it is crucial that while trainers and managers must motivate athletes to reach higher levels of performance, they should not fall into the temptation of over motivation.

In my judgment, a recent case of over motivation, I am persuaded to use as an example, is the case Manchester City football club. The club has been undergoing reform recently with the goal of raising its profile in the English premiership. Its main strategy is to use money to buy off key players it considers necessary for its mission of winning the English premiership.

It has offered ridiculous, beyond-belief, pay packets to lure players from other clubs. It has however, only won the hearts of some of its targets who seem to be money-mongers. Further more, the club has made the following promises to its players this season, according to reports.

(1) £9,000 to beat Manchester United, (2) £3,000 per point made from each game plus other match bonuses, (3) £4m per player to win the premiership and (4) Outrageous salary structure.

Given the foregoing, it is obvious that the temperature of the players will be very high and will go for every game. I wish the team well. But money can not buy trophy for a club. Already you can see the overreaction of the players on the field. You can see orthopaedic tackles from the team. You can see reactions to referees decisions from coach and players of the club. You can also see corrosive utterances from the coach against his opponents.

These are all products of over motivation. When resources are over applied beyond installed capacity to achieve athletic goals or success, it becomes over motivation. This is a negative aspect of Sport and should not be encouraged. It is important that players are motivated to excel but should be only as a facilitator but not as the main instrument of inducing performance.

Athletes must be nurtured trained and motivated to excel. That is the way sport is designed to be – a sense of struggle for achievement.
•Prof. Emmanuel Ojeme, National President of NAPHER-SD, wrote in from University of Benin.