This came up in one of my groups this week in a fun way (the spoof version where WiFi is deemed a basic need before all else!) and it occurred to me that not everyone will have come across Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s a psychological theory put forward by Abraham Maslow about the various stages of human needs which motivate our behaviour.

Well, naturally I thought about this in the context of sports too and at the end of the short clip below there is a really good description which could just as easily be about the needs of an athlete from their coach and club.

An athlete who ‘belongs’ is ready to excel

Firstly being well nourished, warm and safe enables any one of us to operate at our best. Ensure your athletes are well nourished and that they feel that they are in a safe and comfortable environment. Make sure there is a team spirit among your athletes – help them feel a sense of belonging to the group. When they feel they belong – “they are ready to stand out and excel”.

Nobody – and no athlete –  who feels uncomfortable in front of the other members of his or her group is going to feel like standing out, for fear of being bullied or made fun of. The sense of belonging gives a confidence which enables us to step out of our comfort zone knowing that there are people around who have our backs.

If these things are well taken care of then your athletes can focus on excelling and being the best they can be. And if you want to stand out and excel as a coach then make sure the needs of your athletes are catered for so that they are confident enough to stand out themselves.