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Scoring makes the goal seem bigger

By on August 20, 2014

Having just watched Team USA’s great performance in the world cup, eventually going out to the ultimate champions Germany, 1-0, it was interesting to see the article below in the British Guardian about the relationship between perceived goal size and performance.

It turns out that athletes who are performing well perceive the target (the goal in soccer, the ball in softball, the hole in golf) to be bigger, and athletes who are performing badly perceive the target to be smaller. This applies across a range of different sports and also across a range of different contexts, for example athletes who are on a winning streak compared to those in a losing streak, and also to professional athletes versus amateurs. It therefore seems that there is a quite robust relationship between success and perception of target size.

If you are familiar with NLP submodalities, this has obvious implications in a number of areas:

  1. Most obviously in sports coaching. If target size and success are linked, then using shifts in internal perception of the size of the target using submodalities may lead to greater success. Of course, the coach should be aware of the usual techniques that allow successful submodality shifts to take place. The most common pattern to lock such submodality shift into place is the NLP map across. The map across may use techniques such as the ‘slingshot’, whereby the target would be sent off into the distance, becoming first far away, small and dark, then returning in the new larger size.
  2. Less obviously in goal setting. The bigger the gaol appears in the client’s mind, perhaps the easier it appears to achieve. Of course, goals that appear too easy are often not reached because the client puts no effort into trying to achieve them! A happy medium may be applicable!

Please experiment with this and let us know how you get on! You can find the article, with links to several original research studies, below: who are on a winning streak often claim that they perceive their targets to be bigger than they actually are. After a run of birdies, for example, a golfer might say that the cup appeared to be the size of a bucket, and a baseball player who has a hit a few home runs say that the ball is the size of a grapefruit. On the other hand, those who are performing badly often say that they perceive their targets to be smaller than they actually are.

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