Hey Coach, Does Everything Look Like A Nail?

Maslow’s hammer is a mental model that says “if all you have is a hammer, then everything will look like a nail.”

Too often a coach has one tool and then uses that tool on everyone and in every situation.

For example: Let’s say you have an athlete that is struggling in a certain area. If your tool is ‘mental toughness’, you will challenge him/her to be tougher. Usually, without pausing to identify what the core problem might be, you will immediately use your “tool” to help him/her become stronger psychologically.

If, on the other hand, your tool is a ’skills’ coach, you will immediately look through the grid of skill acquisition to fix the problem.

Helping the athlete in their skills or mentality might be exactly what that athlete needs at that time. But it also might not be what he/she needs. If you only have one tool, you are decreasing your chances of truly helping each of your athletes.

As a coach, it is important that you have more than just a ‘hammer’ or all issues will look like a nail.

Possible tools:

Skill training
Strength and Conditioning
Sports Psychology
Team Building/Culture
Tactical/ X’s & O’s

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Travis Wyckoff

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