The fist bump, the high five, a quick hug or even the Bryan Brothers famous chest bump – are all powerful forms of non-verbal communication used by high performing teams.
Scientist at UC Berkeley recently analyzed physical interactions among every team in the NBA. Michael Kraus led a research team that observed and coded every high five, hug and bump in a single game played by each NBA team early last season. Basically, they found:
“With few exceptions, good teams tended to be touchier than bad ones. The most touch bonded teams were the Boston Celtics and the LA Lakers … and at the bottom were the mediocre Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats. The same was true, more or less, for players. The touchiest player was Kevin Garnett, followed by Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer.”
The study corrected for the possibility that the better teams touch more simply because they were winning. They found “Players who made contact with teammates most consistently and longest tended to rate highest on measures of performance, and the teams with those players seemed to get the most out of their talent”.
If you’d like to hear more about building team chemistry from one of today’s coaching masters, Phil Jackson, click here to listen to PCA’s Jim Thompson’s recent interview for Liberty Mutuals Responsible Sports series.