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Motivation vs. Discipline

Motivation is regularly expressed as a desire or drive to do something. It’s a pretty great thing to have and there are fun ways to spark motivation in oneself and others. In our athletes, motivation to play volleyball is typical. Sadly, motivation can only take an athlete so far. Don’t get me wrong, an athlete that has incredible drive, passion, and motivation can and will do incredible things on the court. That athlete will continue to make progress and they’ll push themselves on the court to do great things! But what happens in the space in-between competitive volleyball?

There are so many factors beyond competitive volleyball that contribute to an athlete’s success and the difference between a motivated athlete and a disciplined athlete is in the the gritty details. When athletes get tired or bored of drills, it takes discipline to focus on form and put in the effort to build habits. When an athlete feels fine, it takes discipline to do their physical therapy to make sure their body stays healthy. When an athlete is tired, it takes discipline to get to the gym and lift weights correctly. When an athlete has a bad day, it takes discipline to put aside those emotions and dedicate his/her time to progress. When an athlete is injured, it takes discipline to rehabilitate his/her body. When an athlete is over-worked, it takes discipline to rest.

Motivated athletes have the ability to discipline themselves. They will hate it. Discipline isn’t fun or exciting; it’s hard work and sometimes downright dreadful. But it’s also absolutely worth it. Feelings and emotions are fleeting. They can change at any moment. The weather, your diet, stress, daily interactions with others, sleep, etc. all have an effect on our emotions. But discipline is unaffected. Discipline remains when motivation fails. Discipline is an athlete's ability to look deeper than the surface and to push forward towards their goal when the will to do so doesn't present itself.

“At the end of your feelings is nothing. But at the end of every principle is a promise.”

  • Coach Cooper

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