MVP’s, 8 All Star appearances, and 5 seasons as the NBA assist leader,
Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash’s career was nothing short of remarkable. Perhaps his
most noteworthy influence on the game was not the numerous flashy passes or
leading his team’s fast paced offense, but his touches.
per game; not the amount of times he touched the ball, the number of times he
touched his teammates. During one season, the Phoenix Suns had an intern count
the number of high fives Steve Nash gave during an average game, and he counted
In a study
done at UC Berkeley, an early season game for each of the 30 NBA teams was
coded for touches. The prediction was physical touch would predict performance
because it promotes cooperation and increases trust.
study, 12 distinct types of touches were recorded: high fives, fist bumps,
chest bumps, leaping shoulder bumps, chest punches, head slaps, head grabs, low
fives, high tens, full hugs, half hugs, and team huddles.
Just by looking at the number of team touches during a game at the beginning of the season, the researchers predicted which teams would have the best records at the end of the season. They were right. The best NBA teams were always getting into tight huddles, high-fiving, and chest-bumping. Inevitably, they played like they trusted each other. They found the best shots on offense, helped each other on defense, talked more, and of course, won more games.
The worst teams in the NBA barely touched and had terrible body language. As a result, they consistently made selfish, inefficient plays, and their record showed it.
Players who touched the most, performed the best.
Teams that touched the most, performed the best.
How can this
be explained? Cooperation.
cooperation, which leads to efficient play, which determines how well a team
plays. Teams that touch more, win more. High fives simply promote a greater
Give touches! Be enthusiastic, be engaged and take opportunities to high five, fist bump, whatever. In addition, when there is a break in play, huddle up and make sure everyone is on the same page.