When we look at motivation in cognitive theories it is said to come in two forms: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is the act of doing something because a person enjoys it or acting from internal interest. Whereas extrinsic motivation comes from external factors. Intrinsic motivation for a roller derby player would be that they like the sport, or they love the challenge and want to become better. An example of extrinsic motivation is wanting to be called a roller derby player for social status. In other words, a skater that is not concerned with finding joy in playing roller derby but rather concerned with the outcomes associated with playing roller derby. Either way, motivation is what drives a person’s behaviours and actions.
Now that we have a brief overview of the cognitive approach to motivation, let’s take a further look into this in terms of motiving roller derby players. In my outlook, I believe you can fall under either category of motivation and still be a fantastic roller derby player. A successful coach in any sport takes time to get to know their skaters and what makes them tick. If a skater is not already aware of what motivates them to play roller derby it can be as easy as asking the skater. Then as a coach, possibly reading between the lines of their explanation and their actions. As humans we are not always cognitive of where our motivation comes from and it can change over time.
At the beginning of each season I have my skaters fill out a goal sheet; I take a copy of it and then return it to the skater for their reference. This goal sheet helps me become their accountability (and hopefully extrinsic motivator) to achieve their goals. Furthermore, it can depict where their focus or intrinsic motivation lies. As I get to know the skater on a more personal level I am able to better understand their motivation. Coaches pay special attention to the subtle signs the skaters give you to better understand where their motivation comes from.
Skaters, if you are reading this and are not sure where your motivation is, in terms of roller derby, sit down and think about why you act? What thoughts go through your brain to get you moving when it’s a cold or rainy day? Think about, why you gear up? Why you go to the gym? What pushes you to go the extra mile to be the best? And where do those thoughts and actions stem from? On the other hand, if you are having a hard time getting your bum to practice, if you think maybe it’s time to quit roller derby, if you aren’t eating well or going to the gym even though you know you need to (not just for roller derby but for overall wellness) then explore that, too! It is not always easy to sit down and shuffle through our thoughts and actions; I assure you it will make you a better asset to the team if you know why you are there and what makes you tick. If you can vocalise your motivation to others specifically your coach and teammates that is just one more form of accountability you will have to achieve your goals.
I challenge you to take some time to better understand your motivation, what motivates your teammates and even your coach to come to every practice and go above and beyond. The transparency of motivation can truly help everyone grow together. And while I am challenging you to do things I would ask that you please share your motivations with me. One thing that drives me is other’s stories of grit, dedication and tenacity, so please share your stories with me and enjoy your enlightenment while exploring your own motivations.
Mo Payne #80
Sioux City Kornstalkers Coach and Skater
Photos by Kevein Tobey Photo Gone Mad
Mo has been skating for 9 years and coaching for 7 years. Last season she transfered to MRDA and has been playing men’s roller derby. She has founded two skating charities; Sk8 the State for MS is a small group of skaters who pick a new state each year and skate across it to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis research. And Sk8 to End Sex Trafficking a group that travels to different countries skating and raising awareness of sex trafficking. She is also a massage therapist and a professor at the University of South Dakota, USA. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Human Development and Educational Psychology. Her research focus is substance use behaviors and knowledge in college students.