“You do you”
July 11, 2018

Take the Granny shot

I love a good podcast.

Recently I’ve been listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s called ‘Revisionist History’.

The general theme revolves around an obscure story and drawing wider parallels (not my favourite podcast yet to be honest but I’ll stick with it).

One of the episodes is about a basketball player from the 70’s called Wilt Chamberlain. 

In a nutshell, he was amazing in ‘running play’ but couldn’t score a free-throw if his life depended on it (for the uninitiated – this is a bad thing).

One day his pal comes along and shows him how to throw free throws underhand (from in between your legs, like you would as a child…aka a ‘Granny Shot’)…Wilt starts sinking his free-throws and as a result scores the most amount of points EVER in an NBA game (100 points FYI).

via GIPHY

Then…he goes back to shooting ‘normally’ and misses over half of his free throws in every game he plays.

Why?  Because no one else shoots like that!  One of the greatest NBA players ever felt so stupid doing something against the grain, he stopped doing it to the detriment of his professional game.

The point being, if 50 other NBA players were shooting like that at the time, Wilt’s method would have been more widely accepted and he would have probably continued to sink free throws for fun.

Just like the rest of us, Wilt was massively affected by what is considered ‘the norm’.

The theory behind this is called the ‘Threshold Model of Collective Behaviour’.

 

Sounds complicated, but it’s basically a model which suggests there needs to be a certain number of people doing something before we are willing to join in.

Example – you’re at a football game, someone runs on the pitch…how many other people would have to run on the pitch before you run on there yourself?  1? 10? 1000?  Everyone will have different numbers in their heads.

It’s an interesting concept and something which likely affects most aspects of our life….ESPECIALLY when it comes to health, fitness and weight loss.

On one hand…we may be hesitant to try a new exercise in the gym because no one else is doing it, even when we know full well that it’s beneficial to us.

And on the other hand…we may agree to try a new diet because there are so many of our friends doing it, even though the diet sounds ridiculous.

When it comes to training and diet, we take FAR too much notice of what everyone else is doing.

And just like shooting free throws in the NBA, the thing that everyone else is doing probably isn’t going to work for us.

My advice…don’t be like Wilt.

Find what works for you, forget what everyone else is doing…keep shooting those Granny Shots.