An Evaluation: Tennisdom with Abraham Maslow's Need Hierarchy Theory

Rohini IyerSenior Writer IMay 8, 2009

Abraham Maslow's Need Hierarchy Concept is defined by five set of needs which according to Maslow depict a human social life and behaviour. In Maslow's opinion every person goes through these five specific wants, though the time taken for the want to shift from one particular level to the other varies individualistically.

These five wants taper from a broad base to join at a narrow apex forming a  triangle with the needs or the craving placed in an ascending order or in a sort of reverse descending order, starting from:

1. Physiological needs [Placed first at the broad base]

2. Safety or Security needs [The rung next to the wide base]

3. Psychological needs [The middle of the triangle]

4. Esteem needs [Second last to the apex]

5. Self- Actualisation needs [The narrow crux of the triangle]

I have tried to equate and similarise our day-to-day tennis action with the above listed pointers, even highlighting examples of certain players wherever I could and my final assimilation, ended up something like this:


1. Physiological Needs: Maslow says these needs form the very existence of a human life. in other words, physiological needs are our basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and other such amenities and necessities which maybe essential to our survival in the world.

Mentioning tennis, I would say that a tennis player's desire to play tennis at a professional and international level constitutes as the basic or a physiological need. His craving to accommodate himself well by playing the game as the only priority justifies this particular position.


2. Safety Needs: According to Maslow, after the basic needs are satiated the next priority to a person is about his safety and security: in place of work, to a certain extent about his own life and others' surrounding him, so on and so forth.

In tennis, we can say the same thing though, safety needs may not just necessarily be the next passing step. It will always extend, for every athlete playing tennis, safety about his physical workings and injury concerns will always be there irrespective of whichever part of the triangle [except the top vertice] he features in.


3. Physchological Needs: Also known as belonging needs, it is the next level in the need hierarchy concept involving inclusion and wanting a feeling of belonging and acceptance among the people with the ones around them.

Considering tennis, we can say that it demonstrates a desire among the players to feel accepted with the masses and fellow professionals and though I can think of a lot of players fitting the situation aptly, I prefer naming an exception to the rule: Marcelo Rios!


4. Esteem Needs: Acquiring achievement and confidence and overall respect by everyone, this signifies this part of Maslow's layer-by-layer concept.

Riveting back to tennis, I think quoting examples of players like Rafa, Federer, Murray and Nole will satisfy explaining this arena of the aforesaid theory.


5. Self- Actualisation Needs: The final triangulature in the given format, this involves acceptance of facts, creativity and morality among other features.

While applying the same to the sport, we can say that this apex will and can include the already retired and pinnacled players who have done whatever they could in the best possible way, at present being more than just contented with their honourable mentions and credited accolades.