It can be difficult to find ways to motivate your players to go again after a big tournament or a long season. Whether that tournament or season ended in a comfortable win, near miss or one to forget about, as a coach you need to put that to the back of the players minds so they can focus on their next challenge.
Recycle The Good, Change The Bad
You will have time to reflect before you need to get things off the ground again. Use this time to review why situations went well, why some didn't go so well, what experiences players might have responded well to and which ones they might not have responded to well. Recycle those good moments and put extra emphasis on them next time around. This could have been a drill which received positive feedback from the players or a team talk which sparked a strong performance.
Substitute those bad moments! Everything you can identify that didn't go well, try something different when you go again. Changing things up and giving the players new experiences will act as a motivator in itself.
Use Previous Experiences As A Motivator
Don't completely block out success or failures from the previous experiences. If your players were so bitterly disappointed from coming so close to winning, use that feeling of failure to drive them on to go one step further next time and not experience that feeling again. This should be something that England can use ahead of their 6 nations campaign and even over the next 4 years before the next World Cup. With their young squad from Japan, you would expect that a lot of the same faces will still be around at the next World Cup campaign.
Look at how Liverpool are performing in this year's Premier League. After just missing out last season, they have been faultless so far this season. Jurgen Klopp will have used the feeling of failure last year as a motivator, to make sure they go one better this year.
Break It Down Into Smaller Wins
Break the long-term goals down into shorter, achievable goals that are going to push the team in the right direction to hit the long-term target. After emotional ups and downs of getting to the end of your previous goal, the next long-term goal can seem far off in the distance.
As a coach, you need to break this down for your players into smaller wins so that they are able to see the road to success again. For all the teams in the 6 Nations, they will have been preparing for the 2019 World Cup for a long time and for most of them, their next long-term goal will be performing well at the next World Cup but they will all have set-out a roadmap of targets they need to hit in the build up to 2023.
Talk It Up
Positive talk amongst your players is so important and that's got to start from the coach! Players aren't going to get motivated again if they aren't saying the right things. Negative thoughts really do translate into actions.
Whether it's before a game or at the end of a training session, the coach has got to create a positive environment by talking positively about the process, reinforcing what's been done well or finding positives from a bad outcome. This will soon rub off on your players and you'll get to a stage where you can take a back seat as the players will be leading this.
Then get players thinking what specifically gets them geed up. Every player will have a specific trigger that works for them. Once that has been identified the coach needs to make sure they are using this to get themselves going.
The Knock-On Effect
All of the techniques mentioned above are intertwined, using one of them will generally feed into another and so on, creating a positive upward spiral! Being successful in Sport is all about looking forward and being excited about the challenge of staying at the top or correcting the wrongs.