Helping You Coach – Motivation Feedback – Part 9


We are continuing with running two series at the same time.

  1. The first short piece below will be exploring the role of player motivation in coaching.
  2. The second series will feature a link each month to an article from the series called: ‘Coaching Feedback’.  What, when, and how a coach delivers feedback can make or break the effectiveness of players learning.  

In this series, we explore the concept that the motivation level of your players is actually the most important foundation for their development.  The majority of coaches are all about delivering skills often to the exclusion of dealing with the critical motivation issues.
The goal is to avoid the potential mismatch between a players’ motivation level and the skill level of the program they are in.

The solution is to start to profile your players as to where they are on what is called the ‘Passion Continuum’. For our program, we have tweaked it a bit to make our own F.A.M.E. Scale (Focus, Attitude, Motivation, Effort) which I have attached below. There are 5 levels in our scale (with ½ points in between):

  1. Not Interested in tennis
  2. Interested in tennis (they are fine to try it)
  3. Likes tennis
  4. Committed to tennis
  5. Passionate about tennis

Applying the passion continuum to your programs:

The ultimate motivational state a player can achieve regarding their tennis is to be passionate about it. Although it is not directly related to playing level (starter players can be passionate about their tennis), it does have a connection. Higher level players (e.g. ‘performance’ players in your programs) need to be higher on the passion continuum (at or near ‘Passionate’) to put it the effort required of them.  When they are not, it causes many issues between parents, players and coaches. Tennis becomes an activity where the player is being pushed to do things they don’t want to do by coaches and/or parents which increases the potential of burning/dropping out.  

Because it is critical for players to have a motivation level that is in harmony with their skill level, coaches need to catch a bigger vision. It is too easy for coaches to simply dismiss players who ‘don’t have it’ rather than taking on the challenge to intentionally and systematically create environments that inspire players to increase their motivation. This coaching is a true coaching job that’s just as important as improving their skills. When a coach catches the vision that sessions are as much about the experience the players have as the skills being taught, their coaching transforms for the better.

Reflect at all the groups and individuals you coach this week and ask, ‘What am I doing to intentionally increase their motivation (or, do I just take that piece for granted)?’ 


I have created a new eLearning booklet called, ‘Learning About Learning’. Check out the store to see the description.  It has plenty of information about moving players through the Passion Continuum as we have been discussing. Click here to take you there.

COACHING FEEDBACK SERIES: PART 9 – Feedback Timing/Scheduling

Coaching feedback is a ‘power tool’ required by coaches. Therefore, coaches need to be masters at the art and science of feedback.

All the articles so far have explored what kinds of feedback a coach can employ. This article covers the critical question of ‘when’ feedback is given.

Next issue: More Passion Continuum discussion and the final summary of the series in article #10. In the Feedback series.  Stay tuned!


Try this while you coach tennis this week and keep moving along in the journey to 21st Century coaching.

Read Part  1 Helping You Coach – New ‘Two Pronged’ Series

Read Part 2 Helping You Coach – Motivation Feedback

Read Part 3 Helping You Coach – Outcome vs. Process

Read Part 4 Helping You Coach – Internal vs. External Feedback

Read Part 5 Helping You Coach – Purposeful Feedback

Read Part 6 Helping You Coach – Positive Feedback

Read Part 7 Helping You Coach  – Motivation Feedback

Read Part 8 Helping You Coach – Motivation Feedback


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