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Motivation: Too Little, Too Late! Why?

When Real Salt Lake went up 2-0, the Rapids kicked in. But why did it take so long to get motivated?

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

After the referee awarded a (questionable) penalty kick that put them up, the Rapids looked like a different team.  Brown and Moor had numerous chances, Serna made a nifty move between two defenders to almost put one in near post.  Then, finally, Drew Moor broke through with a nice header (third time's a charm).  I could go on.  But the point is, the Rapids looked like a far more energetic team than they did even when down 1-0.

After writing this article, I came across  this postgame interview, where Drew Moor noted, "We just can't wait to get punched in the face before we start playing in a game like this."

Why?  What causes people and organizations to put forth the necessary effort and energy later rather than sooner?

Lucille Zimmerman speaks of two reasons why people choose their behavior -- the motivation is either intrinsic or extrinsic.

Intrinsic Motivation: This means a person chooses a behavior simply because of interest or enjoyment. The act of doing the behavior is itself the reward. One researcher defined intrinsic motivation in terms of what people will do without external inducement.

Extrinsic Motivation: This means you do something because of factors outside yourself. For instance, you want your parent's approval, a trophy, or a treat. Or perhaps you want to avoid the disapproval of others. The reason for the behavior comes not from the love of the activity, but from the reward that follows the activity.

In watching the RSL-Colorado match, the Rapids did not seem all that interested (so, no intrinsic motivation), but due to "factors outside" themselves, they kicked in.

Again, I cannot speculate what takes place in the hearts of people-none of us can.  I know (and hope) that each of the players love to play, are interested, and enjoy to such a degree that they play with 110% effort.  But the factors outside themselves were the fact that they kicked in not at 0-0 with 00:00 on the clock, but at approximately 52:00 on the clock.

Granted, different factors come into play when you're on the pitch-who am I to speculate?  As the season rolls on and teams begin to know the book on the Rapids and on Coach Mastroeni's tactics, that the motivation and concentration cannot merely come from desperation at being down with the clock ticking.

Go, Rapids!