Coaches Corner

Tips for coaches: 5 ways to keep your clients motivated

14 Oct 2021

“Motivation is a complex subject.”

Expertise shared by Somerton’s nutrition specialist Sara Succar

Motivation is the impulse or physiological need acting to action by definition. In its inner shades, it is a need for social acceptance and recognition. Motivation plays a crucial part in fitness, especially for people looking to get fit or achieve certain sports performance.

In fitness, we often face dropouts of training and getting off track with the nutrition plans. This might be due to the lack of motivation, support, challenge, or interest. So coaches must find ways to keep clients engaged and motivated until they reach their goals.

There are techniques that work effectively in keeping clients motivated to continue their fitness journey, whether it is about improving sports performance or keeping fit.


It is important for clients to determine what their goals are and why they want to achieve them. Understanding the goals will not only help them know where they are going, but they will also understand the method used during this process. As such, clients become more interested in the process of getting fit rather than the goals. From here goals should be appealing, achievable and realistic. Using the SMART goals is a practical approach:

•    A goal must be specific: losing one pound per week
•    A goal should be achievable: losing one pound is possible when following a moderate caloric restriction diet
•    A goal must have a time frame: one week
•    A goal must have some emotional meaning for the client: he will feel more confident if he loses this extra pound

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To keep clients motivated, a good coach must be a good listener. This translates into recognising clients' effort, listening to their concerns, and praising their accomplishments. It builds a good relationship between clients and coaches. When clients feel understood, they are motivated to keep going.


This can be achieved via scheduled phone calls, fitness app tracking, daily behaviours and exercise routines. Follow up helps clients stay on track and consistent. They can see the results they are motivated.


What pushes someone to keep going into sports better than results? Clients like to see results. This can be shown via progress charts and indicators. For example, for clients working on improving body composition, a chart can show their progress with week-by-week changes in body circumference measures, weight and body skin fold. Regarding sports performance, coaches can perform monthly fitness tests to check for improvement with different fitness components, such as muscle strength, power and endurance. This can then be used with charts that compare improvement and areas to work on.


Challenges push a person to give this extra effort as a means for recognition and acceptance, an inner motivation stem. Challenges can be done by creating a weekly fitness boot camp, or something like a one-day detox diet. To resume, motivation plays a key element when it comes to keeping clients into the game of fitness.

Techniques vary and involve creating SMART goals, follow-ups, challenges, tracking, and praising effort. In other words, the relationship between clients and coaches must have some integrity. The coach draws a road map for clients to follow to achieve their fitness goals.


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