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  • Mark Cheney

The 90%


Clocks & Clouds

“Clocks are neat, orderly systems that can be solved through reduction; clouds are an epistemic mess, ‘highly irregular, disorderly, and more or less unpredictable.'”

Coaches tend to view their sport as either a clock or a cloud. Read more here (2:00 read). Just substitute your sport for the word basketball in the article, and I think you’ll find that still it holds true.

Another 90% reference

Ed “The Jester” Ettinghausen holds the world record for marathons run in a year (135). He’s also run 40 ultras (100 miles) in a year. He’ll be running his sixth Badwater Ultramarathon this year. According to Ed, it’s 10% physical and 90% mental. He says, “The mind is the captain, and the body is the servant.”

The faith of Steph Curry Read how Steph Curry keeps the main thing the main thing (3:00 read)

Book Review - The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

When it comes down to it, much of what coaches do is try to create habits. While we might speak of breaking habits, that’s really not possible. It is the creation of new habits that leads to changes in behavior. Duhigg details how environmental cues lead to routines which provide a reward. It is the anticipation of the reward that creates a neurological craving, that in turn drives the habit loop. To change a habit, you must keep the old cue and old reward while substituting a new routine. How is this done? First, you have to identify the routine. Second, determine the reward that it provides. Third, identify what the cue (or trigger) is. Habitual cues could be locations, time of day, emotional states, other people, or preceding actions. Finally create a plan that introduces the new routine. Duhigg spends a fair amount of time describing how this same process can change the routines of organizations and societies. The Power of Habit is an easy read and worth your time if you’re trying to change culture.

I just ran across a Proctor & Gamble commercial from the 2014 Winter Olympics. I love how it portrays moms and the teaching that “falling only makes us stronger.” It’s the growth mindset in action.

OODA loops

I love acronyms, but the military might love them more. This edition comes the United States Air Force. OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Direct, Act. It’s the decision making process for pilots, and it carries over directly to performance. If you look at poor decisions, there’s probably an omission of one or more of these steps. Test this concept out with your athletes the next time you examine a decision.


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