The Motivation of Professional Athletes

The motivation that professional athletes harbor helps them organize their obstacles and move past failures.
The Motivation of Professional Athletes

Last update: 10 November, 2019

Have you ever wondered how professional athletes can handle intense training and disappointments? In our post today, we want to share some inspiring stories about the motivation that powers professional athletes. Put your willpower to the test!

Examples of professional athletes with motivation

We often fail to think about the challenges and obstacles that professional athletes have to face.  They might include waking up early, training all day, following a balanced diet, competing in different sports events, suffering injuries or pain, facing defeat and even dealing with media or fan pressure.

While it’s true that most of these athletes chose this lifestyle for themselves, nobody ever said it was easy. And we’re amazed at how they can keep it up! The motivation of professional athletes has become an area of study in psychology and, of course, for coaches as well.

Here are some stories of professional athletes that have faced major challenges and stayed motivated, pushing their career onward:

1. Michael Jordan and motivation

The king of basketball knows a thing or two about staying motivated. Jordan failed to make the team in his high school days because … he was too short! Nevertheless, instead of folding his cards, Jordan kept training in other sports until he grew tall enough to make the cut on the basketball team.

As a professional NBA player, he won several rings while playing with the Chicago Bulls. During that time, he had to face an entirely new trial: the murder of his father. The pain, adding on to the fact that he, “Didn’t enjoy basketball as he did before,” lead him to retire from basketball and try his luck in baseball. Some years after, he returned to don the number 23 and break his own records.

motivation professional jordan

2. Muhammad Ali

As the greatest boxer of his time, Ali has several lessons for us mere morals. Ali was and continues to be an inspiration for countless athletes in boxing and other sports alike.

As a 12-year-old, he fought for the first time when his bike was robbed. The incident led him to sign up at a gym to learn how to fight to stop anyone else, “From taking something from someone else.” Ali is hands down one of the best examples of strength, self-control, and compromise.

In his own words: “He who isn’t courageous enough to take risks won’t accomplish anything in life.” It’s a great motivational quote to use in any situation.

motivation ali
Image: Sports Illustrated

3. Motivation in athletes: Michael Phelps

The US swimming champion, who won eight gold medals in one summer of Olympic Games– and has a total of 19 Olympic awards– is another example of an athlete with amazing motivation and, above all, personal growth.

As a child, doctors diagnosed Phelps with ADHD, which is a behavioral disorder that causes restlessness, impulsiveness and low attention spans. But Phelps took advantage of his disorder to zone in on his true passion: swimming. He channeled all of his energy into it.

Phelps has proved that discipline and consistency are everything for winning and being the best. His secret is visualizing himself in the first place before competitions. His life motto is: “Nobody is going to put a limit on what I’m doing, I’m going to do what I want and when I want to do it. If I want something, I’m going to go and get it.”

4. All Blacks

Who hasn’t seen the New Zealand rugby team and their haka before every match? Haka is a ritual war dance or chant that originates from the Maori culture. It’s also a great example of the motivation that professional athletes harbor.

motivation all blacks

Teams carry out their hakas to show their pride, strength, unity, and ferocity… which is perfect for the All Blacks. In addition, teams use hakas to challenge their rivals. People who’ve actually had the chance to witness a haka live can confirm the electrifying energy behind it.

The All Black members, and any other professional athletes all stand for the same truth: don’t let anyone else come in and do your work. If you have discipline and commitment, you’ll be the best at what you do.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.