“If you don’t want to be a champion, you’re not going to be,” Ryan said. “It’s safe to say no one’s going to be a champion if they’re going to be like, ‘Eh,
In a previous post I shared Tony Gwynn's use of 5.5 on his cleats to help him make contact with a goal. This week the NY Jets offer a nice example of how a team can utilize this concept. The team set the password for each player's team issued iPads as 1-9-6-9 or 1969, the team's last and only Super Bowl winning season.
The iPads serve as the team's playbook so the expectation is that the players will be frequently typing the password and in so doing will help them make contact with their goal. The Jets are allowing the environment to prime their players towards goal attainment. By priming the team's intent they are affording their player's more opporutnities to have more goal oriented thoughts and behaviors.
For example, imagine you are a player on the Jets and sitting down at in a position meeting and turning on your iPad. You type 1969 and remember its significance and an image of Joe Namath pops in your head. The potential impact of that is substantial as you prepare to review game plans. You may think to yourself
"How does a Super Bowl champion sit in a meeting?"
"What questions does a Super Bowl champion ask?
"What do I need to do with this information to be a Super Bowl champion?
The simple act of priming a goal has the potential to impact how you sit and act (behaviors) as well as your thoughts.
The potential impact of this strategy is in proportion to the amount a person values the goal. An environmental cue of winning a Super Bowl on its own will have limited impact unless it is matched by a players' will to win and commitment to the process.
Not many baseball players made more contact in there careers than San Diego Padres Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.
Here's some evidence:
If we take Yogi Berra's word for it a lot of success in baseball is mental and Gwynn undoubtedly employed multiple strategies to improve his mental approach to hitting. Noted in many of the recent tributes to Gwynn in the wake of his passing last month was his use of a simple mental strategy to promote focus and motivation.
Gwynn had the number 5.5 stitched into his cleats. The number represented the area between the shortstop and third base where the left handed Gwynn often sent the opposing pitcher's offering on his way to 3,141 career hits. Gwynn made contact with his goal each time he laced up his cleats. When a person gives their brain a target, it gives it something to attend to which when practiced can limit the impact of external influences. In Gwynn's case the number 5.5 served as a reminder that kept him tasked focused despite the complex environment a major league hitter finds himself in.
Athletes can learn to leverage Gwynn's strategy by recognizing meaningful task focused cues and finding creative ways to make contact with them. These moments of contact will help focus your next performance.