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Positive Contact Between Teammates Related To Better Athletic Performance

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PCA National Advisory Board Member Dacher Keltner is a Psychology Professor and the Director of the Greater Good Science Center (@GreaterGoodSC) at UC-Berkeley. Keltner is most famous in the sports world for his study on NBA teams, when he identified a link between positive, supportive ‘touching’ (such as high-fives) and success on the court. Keltner is also a published author, most recently publishing The Power Paradox.

Keltner is most famous in the sports world for his research of NBA teams that indicated that more "positive touch" (low-fives, high-fives, chest-bumps, etc.) related to improved athletic performance. If players support each other through these nonverbal "touches", they are more efficient players, more likely to help on defense, shoot better, and more. Keltner also indicates that certain players (Kevin Garnett, for example) are better at communicating this way than others, and that those teammates can be identified as valuable for the way they support their players through "positive touch."

Keltner's research indicates that these positive touches help teammates improve one another's performance on the court. His research also indicates that players can encourage each other through nonverbal touches rather than verbal communication alone.