Motivational Speech #101: The 2% Law

  • I was truly blessed to be coached by some of the real greats. It wasn’t in D1… but I’d put those coaches up against anyone.

    One of the best motivational speeches/techniques I ever received happened in my high school days. Here it is… judge it for how you may.

    The 2% Law

    This is a simple one.

    Our coach asked us to lift our performance by 2%.

    That meant 2% more hustle, 2% more focus, 2% more dedication to the game.

    2% doesn’t sound like much, it isn’t. But it is a psychological factor that works. Why does it work?

    FIrst, it’s simple to understand. Players react better when things are simple.

    Second, it’s only a small bit extra. Players react better when the goals are close by and easily obtainable.

    We were monitored closely. Every single player was pushed to reach his 2%. We went at it (practice and scrimmage) until coach felt like everyone reached their 2%.

    After we finished practice, coach congratulated every single one of us, individually, in front of the entire team.

    We were then told that we were expected to follow the 2% law in our next practice, and our next game.

    So 2% ends up being a whole lot more. When you are asked every practice to raise your performance 2% more than the last practice (or in a game), the improvements are huge in a very short period of time.

    @jaybate-1.0 , please stick this one in your notes besides Wooden’s name. It wasn’t one of his, but it fits his style of coaching (teaching).

    This law can be applied to everything you do. Improve your looks by working on your face, hair, body and tweaking 2% improvements at a time. Improve your job performance by thinking of small improvements every single day and implementing them. Stop bad habits by formulating a structural 2% decline of those habits over time.

    This was the basis of motivation for increasing our focus and effort… taking a team with a losing record and converting us into a league winner.

    It totally worked, and it converted a bunch of unmotivated, unfocused players into a killing machine. It took no time before we murdered our competition.

  • @drgnslayr

    Sheesh! That coach of yours was a motivational genius.

    Think how much more productive American business and American schools could be if they approached it positively in this small increment than with all the draconian coercion of employees and students.

    Managers don’t make people better.

    People make themselves better, when they think improvement is within their reach.

    Management points out what the degree of improvement needed is and says we’re all going to make this incremental improvement.

    Holy cow!

    This is so American its beautiful!

    Thanks for sharing.

    P.S.: Did you notice how all Self had to do was say he would like the team to have a better defensive field goal percentage and they went out and did it for him…to the tune of 34%?

    He may have intimidated them at practice, but I kind of doubt it. Self just remembered the cardinal rule of leading , teaching and managing. When all else fails, especially coaching’em up, try asking clearly and calmly for what you are not getting.

    “If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results.”–George S. Patton

    Workers and players want to do better. Hell, everyone wants to do better.

    Its human nature.

    Harness and its a potent agent of improvement.

    It takes oppressive, big brother coercion to really take it out of them.

    Rock Chalk!

  • That sounds great and I’m sure it worked.

    Of course our KU ATHELETES are cream of the crop and have been giving and giving and giving their best for years before they got here.

    Our HS jump coach expected 10% increase / year and usually got it because he was ahead of his time in knowledge and training.

    Now in the biz world if you set a 2% gain as a goal you won’t last long.

  • @drgnslayr

    In business we say:

    Project managers push employees to complete the work, leaders motivate employees to complete the work…

    You can extend the concept to coaching and say that the average coach pushes players to improve but the better ones motivate players to become better. I believe Coach Self has now gotten his players to want to play better and we have seen a much better effort lately.

  • @JayhawkRock78

    a 2% improvement is usually hard to see. In the biz world, if you don’t improve yourself more than that every year then you’ll be eaten alive.

    This has been completely thought out. Noticing 2% of anything reaches more into imagination than anything else. This is why it works, especially as a motivational tool. It has to be believed in the mind, then it needs to be reinforced with acknowledgment.

    What makes 2% a huge amount is the repeating frequency of it happening. If we can all improve 2% per day, or per practice… before you know it you are on top of the world.

    In the situation I mentioned above… we were constantly pushed harder to improve every practice. Coach wouldn’t let off the gas until we got there. When we got there, we were rewarded with acknowledgement and practice was over.

    We all left practice feeling like we gave everything in our soul to improve 2% in that session.

    This is a system that rewards drive. We weren’t allowed to fail. On a few slower days he just continued to push it and maybe practice went a little be longer. But the reward was there, and I still believe (to this day) that we improved 2% in every practice session.

    I still have a hard to believing we went from horrible to good within one basketball season.

    I know these athletes have been pushed and motivated… but we’ve all seen games (Temple) where the guys weren’t ready to play.

    Think of this as a system. A system giving players a method for becoming consistently motivated every time they walk on a floor.

  • I missed your point and I am sorry. I was talking an annual goal.

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