Motivated by Family

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

Basketball is Psychology VI

(via Mississippi State Women's Basketball Facebook page)

Featuring an interview with Vic Schaefer



It quickly becomes apparent to everyone who’s had the pleasure of being around the Mississippi State Women’s Basketball team— Vic Schaefer has built something special. In only his 7th season as head coach, he’s already won 180 games and taken his team to the national championship game twice. In 2018, he won the Naismith National Coach of the Year, WBCA National Coach of the Year, USBWA National Coach of the Year, College Sports Madness National Coach of the Year, and SEC Coach of the Year. But what makes his program special is not what he’s done, but how he’s done it. There’s an undeniable family-feel that permeates every element of the program. Immediately after every game, home or away, their team goes into the stands to greet fans like they’re old friends. Maybe that’s why they’re able to draw tens of thousands of fans to their games. In all facets, Mississippi State embodies a family intentional about building relationships.

There’s far more than meets the eye to an atmosphere that feels like a family.

Vic Schaefer cares deeply about his players. Ultimately, he wants each of them to reach their full potential, perhaps more than they want it for themselves. You’d be hard pressed to find a more caring coach than Vic Schaefer. He treats them like a father, as if they were his own. His success can likely be attributed to the kind of culture he’s established; family.


Motivation Theory

Psychologist Dr. Abraham Maslow developed the five-tier human hierarchy of needs. At the very top is where your full potential is reached. But before you reach self-fulfillment, the basic and psychological needs must be met first. If those are not met, there won’t be motivation to strive for one’s full potential. As these needs are met, motivation increases.

Essentially, your brain has your priorities already programmed. If you haven’t eaten in 3 days, you’re probably not motivated to be a great basketball player, you’re just worried about getting food. In the same way, reaching your full potential on the court isn’t a possibility until you have a sense of belonging and significance that motivates you to chase your potential.

Everyone wants to be fed and rested.

Everyone wants to feel safe and secure.

Everyone wants to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

Everyone wants to feel like they are loved and they belong.

Everyone wants to believe they are significant and have capabilities of doing great things.

Now think about how a family atmosphere satisfies these innate needs. Families share resources, protect each other, love each other, share close bonds, and encourage each other. Does this sound like your team?

We are wired for family. So when a basketball team is built like a family, players can thrive.

It’s important to understand that healthy families are honest. Healthy families make it okay to tell each other what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. This comes from a place of wanting what’s best for the other person, rather than just pumping them full of positivity so they’ll like one another better. Families welcome accountability.

Family cultures are ideal for motivation.