The first touch…

The first touch matters most. You know this. All the latest science says we form our “first” impression of people within 7 seconds of meeting them. Our brains rush to judge, especially when it comes to the first time with almost anything.

Yesterday while working with one of my clients on applying deliberate practice to his performance (you gotta read Peak, btw), we decided he needs to work on his first touch. His initial touch is intense and can intimidate and overwhelm certain personalities. So, we’re working on role playing some techniques to lean against this tendency when he senses his style is shutting another down. His initial touch and approach is not broken. We’re working on mastery and masters never stop nuancing stuff they’re already accomplished at.

My son, Taylor, brilliantly “anded” with his perspective. Yes, I’m smiling.

He related the first touch back to soccer and how his Crew Academy Coach, Billy Thompson, told him his first touch could be better. Tay recalled this moment with crystal clarity. He had made a settling touch to a long ball and brought it out of the air to the ground right in stride. Billy stopped practice to tell him he could do better. Tay’s initial reaction was, “what’s he talking about,” he thought to himself. Billy showed Tay what he wanted. A long ball was played to Billy. He took it out of the air with his chest and brought it directly to his foot without the ball touching the ground. It was a nuance. A small improvement in the first touch. However, when playing soccer in tight quarters, this improvement in the first touch is the difference between beating the man in front of you and having to play the ball backward. One leads to a goal scoring opportunity, the other simply maintains possession. Masters are always working to make small changes to move themselves and their teammates toward more scoring opportunities. Masters are relentless in improving what’s already good enough. Masters, you see, dance with the mundane cause it’s not enough to simply marry it. Masters dance with the mundane (thanks, Steve, for the nuance).

The first touch matters most. What deliberate practice are you mastering to make yours a bit better, friend? Masters dance with the mundane. How ‘bout you? Good…

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