Whether Santiago Bernabéu Stadium or Old Trafford, certain sporting venues hold an important place in the minds of the people who get to call them ‘home’.
Home advantage in sport is one of those factors that you try to make the most of.
The country that hosts the Olympic Games expects their medal haul to increase purely because athletes are competing on home soil. Host nations expect to progress further in World Cups than they would normally expect. Many sports teams have a better win record at home than they do away.
Home venues elicit pride
Having been part of a home Olympic Games in 2012, I’ve seen first-hand the impact that can be had when you work hard to make your home advantage skew the odds in your favour.
My recent tour around the new adidas Arena building at their HQ in Germany reminded me of the great opportunity that comes when you’re proud of your venues and you work hard to benefit from having ‘home comforts’ close by when you’re in the white heat of competition.
The first thing that struck me about Arena was the amount of pride that is created when you have such an iconic ‘field of play’ to walk into every day.
The feelings of privilege are swiftly accompanied by the expectation that the environment demands that you bring your A-game with you so that you perform to a level in keeping with the workspace around you.
As you walk up from the ground floor into the heartbeat of Arena you see the mix of spaces and the care taken to create diverse workplace environments for different ingredients of performance.
Creating an Olympic experience
We’ve had the same in the Olympic environments I’ve been in. Each environment shaped to connect the athletes with Team GB and its values and each space designed to help athletes and coaches be ready to perform; spaces for rest and recovery, spaces for meeting and planning, spaces for video analysis and reviewing, spaces for monitoring daily health, spaces for working with physios, spaces for warming-up and spaces for just watching the Olympics together.
The kitchen hubs reminded me of how important food is in the Olympic environment. Having been lucky enough to have bespoke venues outside of the Olympic Village, our eating spaces were always a focus for connecting in a more relaxed way with team mates, while fuelling the body in a high-quality way.
The stand-up meeting rooms brought back images of the regular huddles athletes and coaches have just before training sessions to ensure heads are in the same place and fully engaged on making the most of the opportunity ahead.
Supporting top performance
The most important thing about these different spaces is that they all support great workplace performance. Everyone knows what’s expected of them when they step into that space and how the activity within that space is contributing to the wider mission.
Critically, everyone in that Olympic environment knows that the environment doesn’t do the work for them! They know that the workplace environment represents a couple of things:
A commitment from the wider organisation to create a space that makes it as easy as possible to deliver the quality of work that is associated with and required of Olympians.
The recognition that where there is an advantage to be gained by having a great workplace environment, we’re going to do everything possible to maximise that advantage by engaging with confidence, conviction and unwavering levels of expectation.
Adapting to new environments
To help make the most out of these environments and to ensure that the focus is on making the most of the facilities when the Olympics come around (rather than being in awe of them!), there’s a really important step that Team GB take in the build-up to an Olympics.
12 months prior to an Olympics, athletes and coaches will have a training camp close to the venue where they’ll be competing. In this camp, everyone gets to see the facilities they’ll be using come the Games and familiarise themselves with what will be their little bit of ‘home advantage’ when competition begins.
Fuelling the dream
As well as serving to prepare everyone’s minds to feel at home, the visit is obviously a great motivational injection too. Walking around and seeing the facilities and being able to imagine performing at your peak in those surroundings helps to keep everyone connected with the true mission they’re on – to find out how good they can be when it comes to performing in the greatest show on earth.
With 70 years of excellence already in the bank for adidas, Arena is a great reminder of the rich history that’s enabled such an iconic workplace to be created.
Arena matches and even exceeds the quality of Olympic environments. It’s ready to host some iconic moments of performance in the history of adidas – are you ready to step into that workplace environment and play your part?
The heartbeat of the athlete is strong in Arena – enjoy helping it beat stronger each time you step into this amazing workspace.