Athletes now have exposure to an unusual amount of stimulating and demotivating variables as digital innovation continues to transform how we interact and practice. The landscape of sports, as well as athletes’ motives for participating in them, has altered as a result of social media, rapid coach feedback, and different new venues for excellence and competition. Motivation is described as the intensity and direction of an attempt on a global scale, and it is critical to an athlete’s acknowledged purpose and self-determination regardless of platform. As a result, in order to succeed in sports, it must be both understood and controlled.

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

Motivation comes from two sources, as per self-determination theory: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic motivation is based on incentives, which are usually given by others in the form of negative or positive feedback or reinforcements. Praise, restrictions, prizes, money—and today, with the development of social media, things like views, comments, and virtual KOM/QOMs—are all possible incentives. Extrinsic motivation can come from a variety of sources, including colleagues, family, instructors, and social followers, even opponents.

Those who are intrinsically motivated, on the other hand, strive to be proficient and self-determined on the inside, particularly when it comes to mastering a task. Intrinsically driven athletes practice for the love of the activity may like competition, and are eager to master new abilities that may help them enhance their performance. It may appear obvious which sort of athlete you want to be in order to achieve success and durability in your activity, but the fact is that most athletes lie somewhere on the intrinsic-extrinsic motivation axis, and their status might shift as they encounter various stimuli.


A Note on Social Media and Motivation

Many people would agree that publicly posting routines on social media, participating in virtual contests, or opting for QOM/KOM may all be classified as extrinsic, especially when done before audiences. Presently, it’s simple to amass a large following of hundreds of people, giving the athlete the impression of being “observed.” This may have a worldwide impact on sports or performance-oriented motivation, since atypical extrinsic incentives such as big quantities of comments, follows, and so on may be awarded more often (or not) by atypical extrinsic rewards such as significant doses of remarks, likes, and so on.

Many athlete-focused social networks have noticed the problem and have implemented process-oriented monitoring tools as well as performance-oriented objectives or challenges. Athletes can also keep activities private in order to focus on their process and results.


On the other side, certain VR applications (particularly in the cycling world) allow users to compete for practically 7 days a week. When athletes may battle against people from all over the world for extrinsic incentives, it’s up to them to figure out how this impacts their motivation and if it’s assisting them in achieving their objectives.

Luckily, as with most things in life, finding a balance is the remedy. You’ll achieve a healthy balance if you find the correct amount of each form of motivation. This is particularly true in the sports world. While technology like VR/AR and social media may certainly help an athlete stay motivated, if the quantity of extrinsic motivation is too strong, emotions of accomplishment and task-oriented mastery may suffer. Athletes should strive for a mix of extrinsic and inner drive to reignite enthusiasm and happiness in sports.

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