The way athletes express victory–chests puffed out, arms in the air, head tilted back–may have been a result of evolutionary programming, according to research from University of British Columbia and San Francisco State University. Comparisons of photographs of sighted athletes, the congenitally blind, and those who lost their sights later in life show similarities in reactions to winning. This is especially notable among people who have been blind all their lives who express body gestures of winning similar to their sighted counterparts. The study also suggests that similarities in expressions of winning cuts across cultures, and might have been a product of social communication of early humans. By appearing to be larger than the rest, the alpha humans give the impression of dominance and power.

I wonder if Nadal’s grunts have anything to do with his new ranking. Read the article on Live Science.

Top-performing executives and athletes have a lot of things in common, according to Richard F. Gerson’s The Executive Athlete: How Sports Psychology Helps Business People Become World-Class Performers:

  • They prepare themselves for the upcoming event and make sure they are ready to perform.
  • They plan their activities so that they know what they will do, when they will do it, and what will be expected of them.
  • They have a purpose for what they are doing in business, sports, and life.
  • They show a passion for what they do. They love what they do so much that they would probably do it for free if they could afford to; and even do it forever if physically and mentally capable of doing so.
  • They are persistent and committed to achieving success.
  • They are patient as performers because they know that success and high achievement do not always come quickly or easily.
  • They practice diligently, consistently, and continuously, with specific objectives in mind.
  • They perform “as if” when they are not quite ready to be the best they can be.
  • They use personal mastery to help them develop confidence, increase self-esteem, and overcome fear.
  • They are proactive performers, rather than passive observers or reactive actors. They more often than not take the lead to get the job done, and they do it well.