Motivation is essential and is why people do what they they do. This is influenced by their beliefs and how they are feeling so there is an element of subjectivity there. Motivation can go up and it can go down. For example the footballer may not be motivated to go and play on a cold Sunday morning.  This motivation can be internal (intrinsic) or external (extrinsic) and will drive the footballer on.  A good way to identify the motives of a footballer is to identify what footballers assign to winning and losing. This will give an insight into their beliefs and their motives and if nothing else will open avenues of communication between the coach and the team (an important element in any team).  After a game and irrespective of the result set up 4 separate tables in the 4 corners of the room.  On the the each table place 1 of the following, Ability, Task Difficulty, Effort and Luck (I have these printed out and laminated).  Ask the players the reason they have associated with the result of their last game and ask them to go and sit/stand next to the corresponding table.  The reasons they give will fall one of 3 categories; Stability (permanent or unstable), Causality (internal or external) and Control (controllable or not). So for Winning a reason for stability could be "I was lucky" (which is very unstable) as opposed to "I was better than my opponent" (Very stable).  For Causality a reason could be "I tried really hard" (internal) compared to "the other team was easy to better" (external). For control a controllabe reason could be "I tried really hard in the game" and an uncontrollable reason could be "the other team was not as fit as we were". So back to the 4 tables. The Ability table is internal and stable (a good place to be). The Effort table is internal and unstable (effort isn't always a prerequiste for winning).  Whereas the Task Difficulty and Luck are both external with Task Difficulty being stable and Luck unstable. We want our players to avoid the luck table and move to towards the internal, stable and controllable reasons.  Once the players have moved to their table you can start to question them and ask WHY they have stood where they have.  Place emphasis on reasons that are within their control (Control the Controllables again) and on stable reasons which suggest positive beliefs.  If they are at the luck table then you need to start to question them further and work on changing their reference points to their beliefs and what they assign to winning and losing.