If you’ve ever played a team sport, you have felt that extra layer of motivation, the feeling of playing for something more important than your own self interest. During those last few minutes of a game, when your energy reserves are depleted, everything is uncomfortable but you find that extra gear because you know the team needs it. This familiar experience is known as the Kohler effect, you may even have felt it on a Saturday during one of our pairs workouts. Essentially, the Kohler effect observes that we work harder as part of a team, than we do on our own, makes sense right? There are, however, some specific details that need to be satisfied for this to work the way we want it to.

Our work must contribute

That extra gear we want is only accessible if we feel like our work is directly contributing to the performance of the team. If we can’t see this happening, it will reduce our motivation to push harder for the good of the team and we will be forced to rely on our own, internal drive. Some people, professional athletes for example, have the ability to push hard no matter what, but most of us will get way more out of ourselves if we feel like our efforts are important to others. This is why we covered more ground in November than all the other months of 2020 combined! We could clearly see our miles helping the rest of the huskies pull that sled towards Lapland.

We must be part of the right team

To maintain motivation in a team, we need to feel as though our ability is only moderately different to those around us. If the difference in individual ability is too big or too small, motivation is reduced considerably. Attainable targets are more motivating for us, so we have to choose carefully who we compete with and when.

The beauty of being part of a fitness community is that we are part of a large team, so there is always someone to chase and always someone we can help motivate. Effective upward motivation from people who perform slightly better than us in certain tasks, plus the fulfillment of being that target for someone else. This gives us purpose and a moving target to push towards every time we step onto the gym floor.

The Kohler effect is a key focus for the coaches at Colchester Fitness Centre, to create an environment where everyone feels motivated and fulfilled, from beginners to competitive athletes. As members, you can also use it to your advantage when setting short and long term goals. Focus on attainable targets, use those targets to set the right intentions when you come to the box and ensure you leave every session with a smile on your face.