How to be better at your sport

Want to get better at your sport?

Then focus on safety!

In order to be safer, you will need to do the movements better. By improving the movements, not only do you improve safety but it will improve the quality of your technique, which will make you better at your sport. Thus, a change in one area (safety) has a cascade of effects on other areas (quality of movement, performance, skill). That is really neat.

I learned this while reading the fantastic book, The Power of Habit. The book talks about the time when Alcoa Corporation was struggling, so they brought in Paul O’Neil as the new CEO. In his inaugural speech to the shareholders O’Neil talked exclusively about safety – his goal was for the company’s workforce to have zero injuries. The shareholders were shell shocked. This was not the normal speech for an incoming CEO. The “normal” CEO would talk about improving profits, streamlining the workforce, etc. But no, O’Neil talked about safety. Over time O’Neil’s focus on safety resulted in a huge impact on the entire corporation, as the only way to improve safety was to do things better (improve quality) and to use reliable machinery (reproducible results). Thus, the focus on safety triggered a cascade of other, positive effects. Under O’Neil’s reign Alcoa’s profits rose five-fold!

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