I just discovered a web site that may be fertile ground for future blog posts.
The site is StudyFinds.org, and it defines its mission as:
StudyFinds sets out to find new research that speaks to mass audiences — without all the scientific jargon. The stories we publish are digestible, summarized versions of research that are intended to stir debate: We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves.
The site features research findings in a variety of fields, from medicine to sports to the weird, and I ended up spending a lot of time on the site paging through various studies.
One of the first studies I came across looked at what made for an effective halftime speech. I think most people think that an effective halftime speech is one that is inspirational, one that serves to pump the players up to play to their potential.
After all, who wouldn’t be inspired after hearing something lie this:
But what a team of researchers at UC Berkely’s School of Business found was surprising.
After analyzing hundreds of halftime speeches and final scores from high school and college basketball games found that players seem to perform better after a harsh, more negative halftime speech from their coach. In fact, researchers discovered a significant relationship between the level of negativity a coach projects during a halftime speech and second-half scoring outcomes. The more negativity, the more the team outscored their opponents, that is at least up to a certain threshold point.
Whenever coaches displayed “extreme” bouts of anger, frustration, and negativity, it ended up hurting their players’ performances. So, it’s clear from the researchers’ findings that negativity, up to a certain point, can help players perform, but too much negativity is ultimately going to be detrimental to the team.
So maybe Bobby Knight had it right (warning: adult language):
Or is this an example of too much negativity?
I’ve always been more of a carrot than a stick sort of guy, but maybe there are some occasions that call for the stick.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll go out and buy one to keep in my office…
*image from American Rhetoric