Two (2) forms of motivation include intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. These forms of motivation are opposites, and a motivator will at any time be either intrinsic or extrinsic.
Intrinsic motivation comes from the athlete themselves. It is self generated and has a number of benefits. Intrinsic motivation is the best motivation for producing long term results and helping an athlete achieve long term goals. An example of intrinsic motivation is an athlete who wants to do well for the satisfaction found in achieving a personal best, or an athlete who is motivated by the feeling of hitting a good shot. Intrinsic motivation is particularly important for sports such as swimming, cycling, and marathon running, as the motivation needs to be sustained for long periods.
On the other hand, extrinsic motivation comes from an external source. It is generated by someone or something distinct from the athlete. This includes motivators such as a coach, money, fame or fans. Examples of extrinsic motivation is an athlete who wants to do well to earn more money or to hear the fans cheer their name. Extrinsic motivation is often provided in sports with large crowds, such as football or basketball where the crowd sings and cheers their team on (the home ground advantage).
Intrinsic motivation produces better performances over longer periods of time than extrinsic, because the athlete becomes their own motivator. This helps them to perform well under pressure, especially when extrinsic motivation is not provided. Of course the best results will come when both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation exist together, such as an athlete who enjoys playing the sport and the high she gets after training hard, but also wants to inspire her fans and earn more money.