How long will we be enthused by the feelgood emotions of the Olympics? We heard today from double gold medallist Paralympian Natasha Baker that watching the Sydney Paralympics dressage team was her inspiration to one day win a gold medal herself.
The trickle-down effect is what makes you dash out and grab your tennis racket after watching Wimbledon, or dust down your running shoes after watching Mo Farah. But how long is it before you are finding excuses for not actually making it to the tennis court or the gym? If you are already engaged in sport an event like the Olympics will probably act as a continuing motivator, however if you are naturally not given to sport, it might not work for you.
Back in the 1970’s it was suggested by John Bloomfield (the Chair of the Australian Institute of Sport) that watching amazing athletes might not actually be an inspiration at all. Research  has suggested that to motivate people to maintain regular physical activity you need to supplement their enthusiasm with carefully constructed persuasive messages. It is not apparently enough to just get enthused by watching inspirational athletes, that will all fizzle out if you don’t hear the right messages to keep you going.
The interesting bit is that the messages you need to hear have to be not just about what you are doing but also about why and how you should do it. And there need to be a lot of these messages. Natasha Baker talked about how important her mother was in her dream becoming reality. Perhaps her mother was a whizz at delivering the right messages tailored in the right way, properly framed over a period of time and at the right times.
Elaborating on this idea to areas other than sports, it makes sense that if we want to maintain enthusiasm for something we do, discovering the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ of doing it is as important as the ‘what’, and ensuring that we surround ourselves with regular supportive and persuasive messages is essential to our success. So our message to help you get the right messages …… Get a coach! It works