There was an interesting Guardian article at the end of March about Michael Owen’s source of motivation to become the best footballer he could be. There’s a lot to agree with in the piece and some points on which I take a different view. On the plus side in the article he says:
“Reaching the top of your profession on your own is nigh on impossible. Doing it with the support of others gives you a small chance. Having the support of all your family, while being guided by a father like mine made it hard to fail”.
From a young age Michael Owen put a lot of effort into pleasing his father. Luckily the desire to please his parent chimed with his own growing desire to excel at his chosen sport.
On the other side, I think there is more to be said about the balancing elements of motivating a young person to achieve good results and their own desire to succeed , in sport or elsewhere.
What little I know about developmental psychology comes into play here. Parents may say ‘you need to be better at this subject’ and the child may believe ‘I want to be better’. If so, great results are possible. If the pressure is all external – the parent bearing down on the child – there is a risk that the child will try hard and be unhappy doing so.