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Even though there is a will, there is no way. Ambition excesses when selecting goals

8 Mar 2022   ·   

Performing a task with motivation is already a reward. No matter if it is a sport learning or an academic activity. When we perform an action with motivation, there is a neuro-hormonal discharge that activates our body energy storage.  That is why we feel perfectly well when being motivated. 1

One of the first tasks of a coach is to adjust the players’ expectations to reality. It is not a good idea to work with people who are expecting things that will not happen. Setting the objective of getting the title of the League when the level is lower than the two or three best teams in the competition may lead to frustration and failure when results are not as expected. It is also not a good idea to agree with the centre forward that they have to be the top scorer in the competition this year when their level is not that one or that they will recover from an injury much earlier than what the scientific evidence suggests. It is very important to adjust the expectations to reality.

Where there is a will, not always there is a way

However, one of the most rooted ideas in parents, educators, and coaches to motivate their children’s, students’ and players’ behaviour is when there is a will, there is a way. The principle is: if a person who is learning an activity commits fully to it, they will be successful. Thus, everybody can be successful in an exam if they do their best, become the best player of the team or get an outstanding mark in all the school subjects. Unfortunately, this is not true. Even though we do our best, just a few will play football the way Messi does, play the violin like Nicolo Paganini or write like Pérez Reverte. People should not be taught that everything depends on them because that is not true. There are physical and mental limits that often prevent us from reaching what we propose to ourselves. Not all depends on what we do. It is better to take into account that having the will might be decisive when things depend just on you and they are possible for you. So, paying all the price for your objectives can help you reach them. But not everything is under control in sports. The opponents and luck play a key role in what happens on the grass or the field. Even though one expects to score three goals, perform the best set piece of the season or win the league title, it is very probable that we cannot do it. Besides, the coach should not promise titles or a high position in the qualifying ranking. Things that are not under the coach’s control cannot be ensured. It also depends on what the opponents do.

The importance of the coach

Coaches should then lead the objectives proposal of the athletes in three lines: 2,3,4

  • Readjust athletes’ expectations to avoid frustration when results are not as expected.
  • Demand actions from players that depend just on them.
  • Besides, the coach should pursue consistency between the ambition of the objectives and the effort players are willing to make. When wishing to be the best, paying part of its price is not enough. Giving our 100% does not ensure success. Giving our 70% does not mean that you have 70% of chances of reaching your objective, instead you do not have any. What is all about then? It is about paying 100% of what things are worth and being lucky so as all the things that do not depend on you are favourable and help you get what you are looking for.

In conclusion, one must be careful about ambition excesses. Keep working hard while getting what you are looking for. When expectations are not met, doubts arise. In the classroom, the family, and on the grass, we must help people involved to reach their objectives. It makes no sense to set objectives that do not depend on ourselves. It will just lead to frustration and low self-esteem on what we can do.


1 Bueno i Torrens, D. (2017). Neurociencia para educadores. Barcelona: Octaedro Editorial.

2 Lago Peñas, C. and , Seirul.lo, F. (2021). La dirección del entrenamiento y el partido en el Fútbol y los Deportes de Equipo. Edition of the author.

3 Marí, P. (2017). Liderar equipos comprometidos. Barcelona: Plataforma Editorial.

4 Marí, P. (2011). Aprender de los campeones. Plataforma Editorial.


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