There’s a reason that opposites attract.
What does that have to do with motivation? Well, let’s take a look.
When a battery works, the flow of electrons is moving from positive to negative. There is a positive side and a negative side. All that has to do with is the amount of electrons present. Electrolytes are present to block the electrons from moving directly to the positive side. The electrons are repelling each other and are looking to go to a place with fewer electrons. When there is a wire, a circuit is created from the negative side to the positive side. The electrons can flow out and into, let’s say a light bulb. This light bulb takes the electrical potential and uses it for power. The electrons then carry on their way back into the positive side of the battery. Once enough of the electrons have been redistributed, the battery loses it’s electrical potential and needs to be recharged. This means that the positive side has too many electrons, and the negative side has not enough. When you recharge the battery, the flow of energy goes in reverse causing them to go back to their original states. And then the battery is ready to power that light bulb again. [Check this link for a more thorough explanation.] http://www.qrg.northwestern.edu/projects/vss/docs/power/2-how-do-batteries-work.html
We see how the circuit works, with electrons flowing. Now, think of this as your own personal energy. We are electrically charged, and this body that you have works in the same way. What we do to expend our energy is the moving of the electrons into the circuit. So think of it like this: Your body is negatively charged side, the actions you do are the light bulb, and the state of your life is the positive side. At some point, your energy levels will reach the point of exhaustion. Once this happens, the flow of energy will need to be reversed in order for you to be able to move forward. This is when you rest. On the macro level, this is the time between the end of one season and the beginning of the next. At the micro level, this could be the end of one season and the beginning of the summer training. It can be scaled to meet any scenario, but the point is that at some point, your body needs to rest in order for you to be able to perform again.
Why is it important to reverse the flow of energy? Well, not only does your body need rest, but in fact it may be even more important to give your brain a rest. Think about it for a second. Your brain is always on, thinking about what you’re doing in each moment. You don’t even realize it, but it’s always active. The stress that it gets from having to deal with making decisions that you deem to be important and vital to your career can take its toll. This is where most people burn out initially, and they don’t even recognize it. Want an example?
I’ve had to play 4 games this week, I’m kind of tired, I’m not going to go and train today. And you know what, I’ve played over 100 games this season, and I’m only 13 years old, I’m feeling really unmotivated to go and practice.
Let me ask you, have you ever had that thought? Have you considered that your kids or players have had that thought? If you have, then it just means that you need to reverse the flow. And the more taxing a season is, the longer it may take for the flow to reverse.
Here’s the good news: It’s always in your control. You just need to listen to your body and brain. Consciously taking time off after a season is imperative to recharging your battery. This is how you build your motivation. The circuit is your overall lifestyle, and you need to recognize that every aspect is important. The notion of “no days off” has been very much misused. It’s our belief that a day off in the sense of recovery is absolutely vital. In this context, in the macro (long term), it isn’t a “day off” it’s just an absolutely vital training day. Training your body and brain to rest well. The more effective you are at implementing this strategy, the more effective your next stage in progression will be. Whether that is summer training, the next season, the next practice, the next day… it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you clue into what your body is telling you.
The best part about learning how you build your motivation is that you will see rather quickly whether you really love to do what you do. It’s an incredible self awareness tool. If you are actively in rest mode, and you can’t wait to get back into the next phase because you love it so much… well that’s pretty telling. Conversely, if you are so emotionally exhausted that you can’t think of going back to it at the moment, well that’s your brain telling you something else. It could mean that you just need more time because it was a long season, or that you really don’t love it as much as you say you do, and you should do some self-reflection on that as well. Either way, the goal is to make yourself happy. I think the focus should be on doing what you love more than doing it because of someone else’s expectations. If you find this zone, your battery is going to be recharged rather effectively, and you will be winning more on a day to day basis.