West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on the "No. 1" Motivator

What is considered the most effective "motivator" for coaches in getting their athletes to succeed? I, through many experiences in life, know the answer to this question. However, I am afraid that a few of my readers are not going to like it. In reality, the most outstanding coach (and teacher) is dedicated, caring, and above all, a DISCIPLINARIAN!

Many social scientists have conducted studies to determine what motivational techniques produce the most positive (or productive) results. They learned that "Affection" was the No. 2 motivator, and the No. 1 motivator was "FEAR!" Sorry, but it's true.

Yes, although some people don't want to accept this fact, the element of fear has performed wonders in aiding athletes (and individuals in all walks of life) to reach their fullest potential. For example, my scholastic coach was an authoritarian, and I found it easier to win than than facing his wrath after losing.

Now let's be honest with ourselves, if most of us were to list the people who were very influential in our lives, we would have to admit that the majority of them expected more from us than we thought we had to give. And they were parents, teachers, coaches, or employers who believed in "Tough Love."

So the next time your adolescent comes home looking for sympathy after having a rough day at practice, tell him that the caring coach, sometimes, has to be "cruel to be kind!"

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Updated January 11, 1999