Motivation - Starts with Why

In week #1 of our Volleyball Power Hitting Masterclass, we start the program by having the athletes fill out our Athlete Goals & Plan sheet.



We gather a lot of information from the athlete but the most important reason we use this document initially is to determine what their “"WHY"” is.

This stems from the book I read a few years back called Start with "WHY" by Simon Sinek.



Essentially, athletes need to have a strong “"WHY"” they want to hit the ball harder if they are going to engage and do the work necessary to develop their power hitting skills & attitude.

Using a couple questions on the sheet we try to determine if the athlete is actually motivated to work on their ability to develop power hitting skills & strength.

The document first asks the athlete to list 5 reasons "WHY" they want to hit the ball harder and then the next questions ask how important hitting the ball harder is to them.

Dig Deeper - The 5 Whys

As a parent or coach you should ask a few questions to drill down and get past the surface level answers that most athletes will say upfront, and see if there’s some deeper reason or “"WHY"” they want to hit it harder.

You’d like to find out if there is some deep emotional reason why the athlete wants to hit harder. If you can help them find an emotional attachment they will likely work harder to get better.

For example, if the athlete doesn't like good about their lack of playing time they might be better motivated to work at hitting harder if they understand the relationship between playing time and hitting harder.

Explain to them that athletes who can hit harder will likely score more points. If they score more points then the team will win more games. Winning more games for a team, especially a club team, makes the coach look better. Coaches want to win more games and look better so if you can hit harder than other players, you’ll help the team and coach look better. So do the work to hit harder and score more points and you’ll get more playing time….



Play this out a bit further for them.

If you can really hit hard and score a lot of points consistently, coaches from better teams will want you on their team so they look better. So if you want to make better teams, then do the work to hit harder and learn how to score.

The business objective behind most clubs is to win more games than their competitor clubs because winning more games will attract more parents with better athletes (who can hit harder) so they can have more teams and the club will make more money.

Now look at this from a college coaches perspective.

Many college coaches start as volunteer assistants and then have to work their way up to paid coaching positions and then they have to earn their way to higher paid positions at bigger, larger and more successful schools. When you have a coach who knows how to develop hitters into power hitters who can score more, win more points, more games then that should transfer over into the college team being more successful and the coach moving up the college ranks to make more money.

Want to play college volleyball and get paid (earn a scholarship to play college ball) then do the work to hit harder, score more, win more and convince the college coach that you can help them win more games.

Did you know that typically the first scholarship dollars and most scholarship dollars go to outside hitters who can hit hard and score?

This could be an athlete’s “WHY” but if they don’t understand how it all works then they may not be motivated to do the necessary work to get better.

The “WHY” does not have to be monetary for the athlete either. They may have a deep drive within them “WHY” they want to be the hardest hitter, the best scorer, or whatever their reason is to want to hit harder.

Whatever their reason, the sooner you can help them dig below the surface and find an emotional reason why they want to hit harder the better chance you have at finding some motivation for them to work hard at developing their power hitting skills and related strength.

The Five WHYs

I suggest using the “5 Whys'' line of questioning to help them dig below surface responses. Do this by asking them “WHY”after each surface response they give you. Here’s an example of how this works:

WHY #1

  • As a parent or coach you ask, “Why do you want to hit harder?”
  • Athlete’s response “To win more games.”

WHY #2

  • Parent/coach “Why? How is that important to you?”
  • Athlete “To help my team.”

WHY #3

  • Parent/coach “Why? What does helping your team do for you?”
  • Athlete “Well if I can help my team win more, then I can play more.”

WHY #4

  • Parent/coach “Why? Aren’t you playing as much as you’d like now?”
  • Athlete “No I’m only playing a few minutes per game or per match.”

WHY #5

  • Parent/coach “Why? Are there players who can hit harder than you?”
  • Athlete “Yes.”

WHY #6

Continue to Go Deeper or Summarize

Parent/coach “Why do these players hit harder than you? Do they know something you don’t know in terms of how to hit harder? Is this a skill you would like to have? Would you play more if you could hit harder & score more points for your team? DO YOU WANT TO LEARN HOW TO HIT HARDER? IF THIS IS A SKILL YOU COULD IMPROVE ON WITH SOME PRACTICE AND WORK, WOULD YOU DO THE WORK TO IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS TO HIT HARDER?”



Looking back at the Athlete Goals & Plan sheet, if the athlete's response is “Yes, I want to get better and hit harder”, then ask them the next question to get an indication of just how important it is to them to get better, play more…

Ask them “If Zero = not important at all to you and Four = it’s of maximum importance to you, choose a number that indicates how you feel about it.

If they choose a 0, 1 or 2, then they either don’t understand the relationship between hitting harder and playing more and/or they don’t really care that much and as a parent or coach you should consider how much continued time & money you should invest into a club ball, lessons and related activities if it’s not that important to them…  

As a parent or coach, you may not like the answer you hear or want to hear, but if your athlete doesn't have a strong “WHY” (doesn't rate their reason to hit harder at a 3 or 4, I would think you want to know that sooner rather than later)!

If they do have a strong “WHY”, especially if it’s emotional for them then you need to keep that in front of them when they are wanting to skip their 8-week Masterclass Workouts or not put 100% into their workouts…



We like the concept of a “vision board” in their room where they are reminded regularly about their feelings, their goals and that they will have to do the work to improve their power hitting skills & strength to be the “Biggest Hitter” on their team, in their club, their school, conference, nation…

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