Monday, April 12, 2010

Show the Love

When teams are winning you can see all the "high fives" and butt slapping and everything is good. But when teams are finding ways to lose games, or playing good enough to lose, you don't see too much in the way of congratulatory behavior. Not too many "high fives" or patting on a teammate's back(side).

In the March 22, 2010 edition of ESPN magazine, Page 2 had an article entitled Contact High.

The article went on to say how in the fall of 2008, Berkeley social-psych researcher Michael Kraus, along with psychology prof Dacher Keitner, decided to track the performance of NBA teams by the amount of positive physical contact players made during the 2008-09 season. Their work-to be published in an upcoming edition of the journal Emotion- reveals a strong correlation between touching and win totals.

Since players on better teams high-five one another more often than those on lesser squads, the researchers made sure to account for both celebratory high-fives after buckets and more "benign contact" between plays: shoulder touches as the teams buckle down on D or butt slaps coming out of a timeout. Sure enough, the most successful clubs were the ones with players who reached out to one another often and spent lots of time connected. Kraus explains that fist bumps, for example, serve to improve team chemistry, spatial awareness and cooperation among teammates.

Imagine that, aside from downright "grab ass," if you show a teammate you have his back he will generally rise to the occasion and more often than not your team achieves more than just a moral victory but actually snatches victory from the jaws of defeat.

It's 2010 and I felt like this needed to be shared with those who did not catch the article in ESPN magazine.

(thanks to ESPN mag for the insightful information)

Kevin Marquez