A talented athlete is a blessing or curse for any coach. This young person is someone who can go one step above the rest of the team and the performance is noticed by people in the stands. Unfortunately, this same star can rest on the laurels. He or she may not feel the need to put forth any more effort than necessary.

It could be trouble for any coach because only average performance might result in a loss.

Gifted athletes sometimes live in the here and now. They know their success and the type of skills which got them where they are currently. It seems logical that the same traits will continue to generate success and these competitors see no reason to change (if the wheel ain’t broke, don’t fix it.).

A coach confronts a sizable task; motivating a star athlete to move out of his or her comfort zone. I am suggesting these steps to take in getting that person to the next level.

  1. Know Your Athlete.

You will have to take some time to understand your athlete better and find out what inspires this young person to move forward. It is not enough to do one five-minute session; this is an ongoing study.

By knowing better who it is you are coaching the more successful you will be in developing motivational techniques that push the athlete forward. You should actively seek input and opinions from him or her in the process.

  1. Communicate the “Why.”

Old school coaching involves telling an athlete what to do and then reprimanding or punishing that individual when he or she does not do it. That really is not very effective.

It is more important to explain why certain things must be done, and why the athlete is being asked to do it. It is acceptable to explain that what they’re doing is going to help them give an even better performance.

  1. Praise is a Valuable Tool.

Some coaches will be reluctant to praise a star athlete, thinking that it will give the young person a swelled head. It is unfair not to praise somebody if they earned it. Regardless of the type of athlete, if performance was exemplary in a competition then praise is worthwhile.

Earned praise lets a star know that even though you expect a great deal from their performance, an outstanding effort will not go unnoticed. It can stimulate a desire to continue to compete at a higher level.

  1. Use Goal Setting.

Promoting self-motivation takes some of the load off the coach’s back. It means the athlete is pushing himself or herself forward.

The best way a coach can encourage self-motivation is setting goals. These are benchmarks to which a star athlete can aspire. They will encourage a person to go above and beyond a comfort zone.

It is essential for you to set realistic goals (for example, improving finishing time in a race by one second, and reward achieving them (a verbal pat on the back is usually enough).

Creating a system of goals, with each other a little bit higher than the last one, inspires individual performance to be even better.

  1. Emphasize Teamwork.

There is no “I” in team and the message is important. A coach should make a strong point of telling any star that it was the performance of the team that caused a win, and not just the efforts of one person.

Stressing teamwork enhances peer motivation. The gifted athlete can be inspired to higher levels of performance by encouragement from teammates This person will, in turn, help urge other teammates to work harder.

Such internal group motivation is critical because one person rarely wins a game. The team does it.

Natural ability will sooner or later no longer be sufficient in competitive sports. All efforts to motivate a high achiever is going to benefit that person in the long run.

Motivation will stimulate the athlete to work even harder and achieve greater levels of performance. Coaches can instill that winning edge in an already gifted athlete by working on motivation.

It is true that entire team needs motivational messages, but the point here is not to forget the person who is already a top performer. Additional encouragement makes the star shine even brighter.