Characterisitics Of Motivation In Modern Basketball


The present paper is a synthesis of the main aspects related to the enhancement of motivation at the basketball players I coached for numerous national and international university competitions. The aspects to be presented in the paper formed positive reference points which brought many university titles for the teams at international and national level. Coaches can help to develop a player’s motivation through rewarding effort/hard work rather than skill/talent (motor abilities). Skill/motor abilities are inborn and the player should be happy about that whereas the player should be proud for his/her effort or hard work. The player performance motivation enhances if he/she has a special relation with the coach. For some psychologists, the reason is the generic name of any component of motivation being defined as a psychic phenomenon that triggers, directs and energetically supports activity. The present paper aims to present the motivational techniques that contributed to the achievements in the basketball game, performing in the leading positions in the European university competitions both for women and for men. Working with valuable athletes coming from different club teams but assembled within the male and female university basketball teams required professional craftsmanship combined with various motivational techniques to maintain balance and achieve performance. Athlete's motivation is trained every day. Motivation is a daily task and is just as important in training as in competitions. 90% of motivation is cultivated daily and over time, and 5-10% in the pre-competition period.

Keywords: Basketballmotivationcharacterisitics


Motivation is a concept explained through different ways. It originates in the Latin word „movere”, which means what sets in motion, what drives into action. In the specialty literature the approach of this notion is focused either upon the individual or upon the individual in relation to his environment.

The approach from an individual perspective underlies that motivational force is intrinsic and depends on personal characteristics such as needs, pulsions, instincts, personality traits. Motivation is the direction and intensity of effort; we understand the direction of effort as the act performed by an individual when he approaches, searches or is attracted by certain actions and the intensity of the effort as being the quantity of will a person uses in the direction of a determined action (Biddle & Mutrie, 2003). Weinberg and Gould into the 1996 show that there are more and more sport psychologists who accept an interactional perspective of motivation; for them motivation does not depend only on individual or situational qualities but also on the interaction between them. The study of the psychological variable ,,motivation’’ at athletes is complex and acts upon the start, maintenance and abandonment in physical activity and sport .

Finally, motivation in sport area is the product of a group of social, environmental and individual variables which determine the choice of a physical or athletic activity, the intensity in practising this activity, its persistence or abandonment and as a last aspect athletic performance.

Problem Statement

Players with intrinsic motivation are those who play basketball because they like the game. They want to be skilled, to accomplish their tasks successfully. They play for their own pride, to feel well, for pleasure, fun, curiosity, etc.

Most players report these motives as being the most important in playing basketball.

Players with extrinsic motivation are those who play basketball because they want to get tangible rewards (trophies, money, etc.) or nontangible rewards (appreciation, praises).

In sports, motivation is important for success. Often, we are tempted to say that great performance relies heavily on innate abilities. Personally, I would say that in order to achieve the highest level in a sport you have to have talent, work to perfect yourself, and last but not least to be motivated. Looking at the world of sports, I realize that the performance of great athletes is a combination of physical abilities and a burning desire to be better. Many are able to excel because of a strong inner desire, which is able to supply physical qualities such as height, speed, strength, or skill. The coach must have in front of the athlete the qualities of a "buyer" determined to win. He will "skillfully" buy from athletes effort, work, sacrifice and pay them with the golden coin of success. Motivation plays an essential role in the mental activity and development of each individual's individuality.

Careful! Athletes, even those with high performance, learn quickly with negotiation. Be abil, make small compromises, do not create tragedies in some moments of the athlete's refusal to engage, but find out the causes.

Train your athlete's workout pleasure! The athlete will have the pleasure of training if at each activity he / she knows the goals, the utility and the consequences for the performance. The athlete will receive short, clear explanations of the purpose of the exercises, such as 'it's not easy, but your gain will be great and we'll build it together.' It is important for the athlete to feel the involvement of the coach permanently; it will create the feeling that the effort, the hardships, the pain, the sacrifices give them. It will pass much more easily over heavy moments

The coach should consult his athlete, listen to his opinions and explanations, make small compromises. The coach has to create communication situations. Some athletes are more willing to communicate, others are more silent, but without exception everyone expects the coach to communicate with them. Banal folders such as "How you warmed me it looks like you do not have a really good day. What bothers you? Can I do something for you? "They will trigger dialogue and the athlete will feel the coach with him. Not at all times high-performance athletes say, "I have a terrible coach! We communicate well. We talk about everything and we decide what to do next. "

But it also happens: (coach) 'I see you nervous and without training. Better go home! '; (athlete B.C.) 'He does not think to ask me what I have, why I am not in my waters. It's me who thought I could talk to my coach with my crap. "

Communicating is not just talking. Write them briefly from time to time to the athlete's brief evaluation reports. Describe it from several points of view, taking into account the preparation stage. Conceive the interactive style report, such as finally formulating 1-2 questions in which to express your opinion and of course ask the athlete. Do not ask them to respond in writing, but invite them to a cola to talk.

This is precisely the value of the work, namely in the presentation from the perspective of the coach of the techniques that made me, together with the university teams, to achieve great things both nationally and internationally. These approaches of motivation in basketball have made me achieve a title European Championship 3x3 European Women's Basketball Championship in Coimbra Portugal, 5th place at the same European European championship in Coimbra with 3x3 men's basketball team and 6th place at the same European 5x5 women's basketball championship, plus numerous leading classifications in previous years at European competitions.

Research Questions

We suppose that if we succeed to control the motivation level of players we shall obtain superior performances in national and international competitions

Purpose of the Study

The paper tries to present the main motivation techniques for basketball players which led to obtaining superior performances in national and international competitions

Research Methods

In this paper we used the following research methods:

a. studying the specialized literature on motivation in sports training, basketball in our case;

b. The pedagogical observation achieved both during the training with the basketball academy teams and with the participations in the European competitions.


Most players report these motives to be less important in playing basketball. It is most likely that players should play basketball for both rewards, intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic rewards are the best in order to maintain a good motivation, while extrinsic rewards help the player to be interested in basketball in an initial stage. Coaches can help to develop a player’s motivation through rewarding effort/hard work rather than skill/talent (motor abilities). Skill/motor abilities are inborn and the player should be happy about that whereas the player should be proud for his/her effort or hard work. The player performance motivation enhances if he/she has a special relation with the coach The coach has to hold counsel with the athlete, to listen to his/her opinions and explanations, to compromise slightly. The coach must create communication situations. Some athletes are more communicative while others are more silent but invariably, all wait for the coach to communicate with them (Martens, 2005). Everyday address of the type ‘The way you warm up show me you don’t have a good day. What’s wrong? Can I do something for you?’ will start a dialogue and the athlete will feel the coach to be close to him/her. Very often, athletes with high performances say: ‘I have an awesome coach! We communicate well. We talk about everything and we set goals together (Biddle & Mutrie, 2003).

However, the situation may be reverse: (coach) ‘I can see you nervous and in no mood for training. You’d better go home!’; (athlete B.C.) ‘He does not think of asking me what happens , why I am out of sorts. I thought I could talk with my coach about my inner troubles.’ To communicate does not mean only to talk. Write up for him/her short evaluation reports. Characterize him/her from many points of view, taking into account the training stage. Write the report interactively, and formulate 1-2 questions at the end of it, in which you express your opinion and also ask for his/hers. Do not ask him/her to answer in writing but invite him/her somewhere for a coffee coincidentally, in order to have a talk (Glyn, 1992).

Organize meetings with the athletes periodically, even if from different disciplines (preferable of high performance level). Suggest, encourage, mediate topics about emotions, personal style of outperforming, good and bad situations in events, etc. Invite specialists to these meetings, such as a psychologist, a doctor, a nutritionist, a kinetotherapist. Under no circumstances they should deliver lectures, but choose those who will discuss and answer questions in a friendly and in a well documented way. You will discover that athletes are eager to exchange experiences. Also, you will observe that team spirit and athletic spirit will increase.

Increase the player’s motivation by selecting the most appropriate nonverbal communication instruments. Mimic, gesture, pantomime have a great informational content; they convey attitudes, emotions, sometimes more pregnantly than verbal communication. Pay attention to your gestures, mimic and pantomime before competition. The athlete could “detect” worry, irritation, impatience, disappointment, dissatisfaction. Allan Pease in his book ‘The Definitive Book of Body Language’ offers in text and images a a wide range of facial and body signals. For example, if you stand before the athlete with your arms crossed over the chest, this will signal your disagreement. Far from being a body attitude with an encouraging message, the above-mentioned position has to be avoided in the moments when its significance is not beneficial for the relation. Certainly, it can be only a comfortable position of the moment, but the body signal is different. In order to stimulate the inner strength of the athlete it is recommended to touch him/her on the arm lightly as if you said ‘I know you are good, I trust in you’ (Epuran, Holdevici, & Tonita, 2001). Do not compare the athlete you train with another athlete with much better results when your talk to him/her, correct him/her or try to encourage him/her. Do not tell him/her ‘You see, he is at the top because he went to bed early ‘From tomorrow on, we start training at 6.00 like Popov’. This will probably displease him/her, his/her self-confidence will decrease, also a part of his/her commitment or he/she will become very stubborn (Glyn, 1992). Moreover, the athlete can experience a higher level of anxiety in competitions if we insist on such comparisons. Avoid as much as you can this manner of discussing and give examples with the better athlete only underlining technical or tactic necessary elements. Also mention (talking to them or in front of them) their other human qualities and other performances outside athletic activities. They will feel well, respected, valorized, they will develop greater trust in themselves and in you, their athletic motivation will increase. Do not forget that high performance athletes have little time to give to other preoccupations and this points out that a successful manifestation in other domains must be praised (academic performance, family, computer, the effort to learn a foreign language etc.).

Another reliable way to enhance the motivation of the athlete you work with is to be empathic in your relation to him/her. Specialists in communication say that the true art is to know how to listen to the other, to feel what the other feels and then to intervene. Thus, training could become individualized and high performances will be obtained. Certainly, you will succeed in being empathic only if you know well the athlete, if you are interested in what he/she feels not only what he/she does and why does he/she do something in one way or another (Glyn, 1992). Stimulate the athlete even if his/her progress is slow or stagnates. Encouragement is definitely positive and motivational while irritation, dissatisfactions, accentuated and frequent reproach are completely non- motivational (Biddle & Mutrie, 2003).

Do not forget about the ‘Pygmalion effect’ which reminds us that attitude and speech are strongly charged with a modelling force. Do not reduce encouragements to utterances like ‘You’ll be back!’ or ‘Come on, you can do it!’. Analyze together with the athlete the causes and do the most adequate modifications openly. Make the athlete understand them (Martens, 2005).

“My coach does not speak to me for days when I lose. I can’t understand him. Actually, we both lost and we should see what is to be done as helpmates.” (athlete M.M.)

The coach is the one who creates the atmosphere. Make sure you have short moments of rest and fun during the training session. Training must be pleasant to the best of your ability.

Ask yourself very often: ‘What’s the reason for this type of training? Thus, you will have the opportunity to look for the best individualized solutions to attain your goals. You will be strongly motivated and you will pass over something from your mental state to the athlete (Famose, 1993).

Monitor long-term objectives attentively. ‘Break them down’ in short-term objectives and discuss them permanently with the athlete. He/she has to know them explicitly. Only this way he/she will be able to attain them and feel motivated to that end (Famose, 1993).

Next, we bring forward a few aspects as regards the enhancement of motivation used over years in training men and women’s university basketball teams (Famose, 1993).

1.      Motivation in case of meeting a plain opponent:

·        Coach appeals to responsibility feeling

·        Coach expresses his trust in victory

·        Coach insists upon existing tradition

2.      Motivation in case of meeting a valuable team:

·        It is pointed out that the meeting can be the chance of the year

·        Coach insists on the fact that the meeting represents an important validation

·        The athlete is induced with an enthusiastic anticipation

3.      Motivation of athletes in case coach is certain the meeting will be a loss:

·        He shows that there is victory and loss in sport

·        Coach emphasizes that the final result is not the most important thing

·        He sets goals for each athlete

·        He insists that each athlete should do his/her best to obtain a victory

4.      Motivation of athletes in situations in which the opponent seems to be easy to defeat:

·        He draws attention that each athlete is responsible for what he/she does

·        Each athlete is notified not to take things easy

·        Coach elaborates a realistic approach of the possible situations in the future competition

5.      Recovery after a „fall” when it seems that nothing „works”:

·        Coach insists on the fact that everyone should do his/her best

·        Coach shows that responsibility for the existing situation falls on him

·        Athletes are guided to look after themselves

6.      Recovery after a loss „on the edge”:

·        Disappointment is emphasized

·        It is shown that loss is a natural thing

·        Coach expresses encouragement and trust in athletes

7.      Recovery after a tough loss:

·        Coach must arouse self-assertiveness

·        He must demonstrate that progress is still possible

·        Coach must avoid sanctions

8.      Team management after a victory „on the edge”:

·        Coach must maintain the mental state of the team(athlete)

·        He has to show that „we are on the right tack”

·        He sets the goals and thinks ahead to the new game

9.      Team management after a clear victory:

·        Ways to maintain the present status have to be provided

·        The danger of „resting on one’s laurels” should be avoided

·        Coach must insist upon the continuation of the created moment

10.   Preparation for the meet with an opponent always defeated:

·        Coach has to emphasize strengths of the opponent

·        Coach induces trust in a new victory

·        Self-complacency should be avoided

11.   Preparation for an opponent who had been always victorious:

·        Self-assurance has to be restored

·        Previous drawbacks and weaknesses are pointed out

·        Concrete tasks are given to everyone

12.   Creation of interest and enthusiasm for training:

·        Use of a wide range of motivational techniques

·        Interesting trainings with funny games

·        Trainings similar to competitions with high emotional load


In the complex determinism of behaviour, environment data constitute factors of incitement or precipitation, as external causes, while motivation relates to internal factors, internal conditions which very often intercede between external stimuli and individual reactions, supporting and directioning behaviour.

The acting source must be sought not only outside or inside human body but in the interaction between the individual and his environment. External causes act through internal conditions at all times.


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  2. Epuran, M., Holdevici, I. & Tonita, F. (2001). Psychology of performance sports. Theory and Practice, Bucharest: Fest.
  3. Famose, J.P. (1993). Cognition et performance. Paris: INSEP-Publications.
  4. Glyn, C. R. (1992). Motivation in sport and exercise champaign. Illinois: Human Kinetics Books.
  5. Martens, R. (2005). The Coach's Guide to Sport Psychology. In: Performance Sports. Bucharest, INCS, no.413-418, 1999 source: "Sport Science" Magazine.
  6. Weinberg, R. S., & Gould, D. (1996). Foundations of Sport and Exercice Psychology. Human Kitetics.

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15 August 2019

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Fleancu*, J. L. (2019). Characterisitics Of Motivation In Modern Basketball. In E. Soare, & C. Langa (Eds.), Education Facing Contemporary World Issues, vol 67. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 2081-2087). Future Academy.