What external motivation should an athlete require in order to play at his highest level? A youngster would clearly need frequent prodding and understanding – whatever that entails. However, I should think that players beyond high school age would be mature enough to be self-motivated and not need any tactics undertaken for them to compete always with the greatest effort.
Of course, all people need some help in life, but my point is that adult players should be solely accountable for any of their listless efforts. When an adult commits a crime for which a contributing factor might be flawed parental guidance, it is not the parent who is jailed. The misbehaving adult must be held accountable, as should the adult hockey player who competes below the 100% effort level. A player (or anyone) is revealing a major weakness when he complains that he needs motivational assistance.
Should anyone listen to a well-paid and fairly treated worker who complains that he is not inspired in his job and, therefore, is justified to “slack off?” Assuming that coaches are competent, the outcome of a game is determined by the skill and performance (controlled largely by effort) of the competing players.
Passion is largely innate, but to what extent should anyone be expected to ignite an intense desire in an adult athlete, especially a top level one? My message to all adult athletes is to “get yourself going.” When things go wrong, look internally for how you could be responsible for the negative situation, and do not seek to deflect blame to someone else for failing to motivate you.