The Power of The High Five


You’ve seen it at sporting events, on TV, or at our children’s game-times, and we even do it here at the MPT dojo. The High-Five is a key part of North American sports culture and beyond. There are several stories about the origin of the High-Five, all of which are interesting in themselves, but I’d prefer to talk about what the High-Five currently represents, and why it could play an important role at the MPT dojo.

The High-Five is often seen, and used, as a gesture of greeting, elation, celebration or congratulation in our society. However, once you look at it more closely, the High-Five has a deeper meaning and a wider effect.

Have you ever noticed what happens in a basketball game after a player makes a free throw? Regardless of whether they make the shot or miss it, the players around the teammate who’s made the shot, give him /her a fist bump or High-Five.

Why is that?

A study was conducted on NBA players which recorded the number of times they touched one another in a game (fist bump, high five or a pat on the backside). In 50 minutes of play, they saw a total of a minute-and-a-half of touches made between teammates. Now, given the fact that each touch was maybe a hundredth of a second, you can see that this adds up to a lot of touches overall.

What researchers found was astonishing. They looked at the teams with the largest number of touches and saw that these teams actually placed higher overall in the standings. Not only that, but teams with the largest number of touches also had better stats on passing, and setting picks. In other words, their team-interaction had improved their performance.

So what does that tell us about High-Fives, and why we should be doing them more often, both in our day-to-day lives and at the dojo?

1. It is a gesture of interaction with other humans that celebrate our togetherness.

2. It is a great way to communicate and to display positive feedback.

3. Just like the handshake, the action of slapping your hand on someone else’s signifies a physical connection.

4. Athletes who High-Five have been shown to perform better.

5. It’s an energized/energetic act.

6. It promotes positive reinforcement.

7. The High-Five is an instantaneous way of telling a person that they are important, and deserve your personal attention.

8. Tactile communication is known to increase cooperation, to convey positive emotions, and to provide a sign of trust—which was illustrated in the study conducted with NBA players.

You see, the secret to the High-Five is in the touch. Not only is it the greatest way to increase social camaraderie, but it establishes a hands-on (you might say) connection with your fellow human being. At the dojo, in order to help you reach your goals, we need to find ways to connect with you. And giving you a High-Five is one way to do this, when we see you arriving, during a workout, or afterward as you leave.

One of my hopes is to see people connecting with one another, and for me, myself, to connect at a stronger level with each of you. The High-Five helps bridge this gap and starts the valuable process of relationship-building.

A process which can:
• Help you better achieve your goals.
• Give you something to believe in.
• Create an environment for your growth.
• Give you social ease.
• Give you peace of mind.
• Allow you to express a philosophy.
• Provide you with a feeling of service.

So here’s my October challenge to you. I call it the “30-Day High-Five Challenge.”

Can you High-Five a person you don’t know every day for 30 days? Make eye contact, raise your hand, and make palm to palm contact followed by a greeting, or some sort of positive affirmation.

The second part is to High-Five at least 5 people every day. If you’re a teacher, stand at the entrance and give out High-Fives. If you’re a business owner, greet your employees with a High-Five, and if you’re a worker, greet your co-workers with a High-Five.

Before self-doubt creeps in, ask yourself, “Would the difficulties of doing this outweigh the benefits?” The answer lies in the 30-day challenge.

Dedicated to your fitness,
Maki Riddington