I bet Versteeg did this to Kessel.
I’m not going to say Randy Carlyle stole my idea, but he definitely has been picking up what I’ve been putting down. His desire to revamp the Leafs dressing room shows he knows a thing or two about exploiting cognitive biases.
You see about two months ago I wrote about the influence our environment can have on our behaviour
. A quick summary of my last post: Studies have shown that exposing people to certain images can influence their behaviour in un-related tasks. The example I used was that people exposed to images normally associated with the world of business were much greedier and aggressive in another game played later on. Our brains pick up on these things and influence our behaviour.
Another study published by John Bargh et al. in 1996 suggested that priming people with words normally associated with the elderly caused them to walk significantly more slowly down a hallway than they had before being exposed to the stereotypical old people words.
Most nights it’s not going to a make a tangible difference. Hockey is a game of skill and skating a little harder, and wanting it a little more just aren’t good enough. But on some occasions a flat start has been the difference between victory and defeat, if you can find a way to get your player’s heads in the game as soon as possible, why not try it?
So a few motivational posters and paintings, pictures of former Leafs achieving past glories, these things can prime the players and maybe help them give that elusive 110% night in and night out. Will it magically turn this team into a winner, no, obviously not. Competent goaltending will. But it’s obviously never a bad thing to make your players happy, and if you can unconsciously influence them to skate a little harder out there you’d be foolish not to.
Randy Carlyle’s job is to get the best out of the players he is given. This is a step in the right direction.