Athletic performance is something that has been studied rigorously in order to optimize, streamline, improve and essentially win. We’ve developed new training methods to boost the ability of the body and we’ve developed technologies that push the boundaries of what the body can do.
With all these advancements in tech and training we consistently see new world records being set in different sporting arenas. When it comes to the environments we perform best in, we’ve known for years that when we’re in a team environment we tend to perform better. The common understanding behind this is that when there are other people to perform for, or when other people’s result is also dependent on your performance, we as humans tend to lift our game.
Something that has been shown to help us lift our game even further is physical contact. We already know that touch builds trust, communication and greater cooperation, in a corporate environment but we didn’t necessarily equate this with athletic performance until recently.
In one particular study (found here), the researchers looked at the performance of basketball teams based on the number of times they touched one another during the game. What they found was the teams who made more frequent contact (especially associated with celebrating positive events) showed not only a higher win rate throughout the season but also had higher rates of successful rebounds, blocks, steals and assists.
That’s a pretty significant series of outcomes for the simple increase of touch within the team environment – and to give you an example of what was included in this touch, it ranged from fist bumps, high fives and chest bumps to head grabs, low fives, full hugs, half hugs, and team huddles.
Team touch gives us the best of building stronger connections with our peers at the same time as helping us achieve better outcomes.
“In every field, a champion team always beats a team of champions”
There are so many ways we can lead with touch. Whether you’re in a sporting environment or not, creating more opportunities to make physical contact with your team members is going to have a huge impact on your performance individually and as a team.
Fist bumps and team huddles, all round.
This article was originally published in our sixth edition of TOUCH, our E-Magazine. For more articles on Touch and Leadership, please see the Magazine.