Avoid ‘The Domino Effect’ and Determine Your Own Success

Proven Strategies for Staying in the Game


Avoid ‘The Domino Effect’ and Determine Your Own Success

Don’t let momentum decide your outcomes, create a ‘win’ in every moment.

In sport, and in life, people commonly consider the ‘domino effect’ to be a natural force we all must navigate, many liken the concept to that of ‘momentum.’ In its simplest form, the domino effect can be described as looking at life, or sport, as a series of interconnected events or experiences. Pushing one domino has a knock-on effect to the next, and the next, and so on until inevitably all the dominos are lying flat.

This is one way to visualize ‘momentum’ – a positive action, a good play, swing, or stroke in sports, naturally leads to another, and the cycle continues until the game or race is won. Believing in this concept is undoubtedly helpful, encouraging players and teams to believe they are ‘on a roll’ and success is only inevitable. However, momentum can also work against you.

Watch the video below for 5 minutes with Bo Hanson on ‘The Domino Effect:’

“Believing in momentum makes it almost impossible to arrest a poor start or to quickly recover from a mistake. Belief in the domino effect can mean a team turns up feeling as though a great start is all that’s required to secure a win, or worse, believing that a great week of practice or previous success over an opposition, will naturally lead to today’s success. Either way, the domino effect and belief in momentum are just beliefs, neither true nor false, just beliefs. The only important question is whether believing in these two concepts is going to help you or hurt you. My personal belief is that it’s far healthier for our performance NOT to believe in the domino effect or momentum concept.”

I believe the toughest athletes use intentional effort and focused technical execution to push each domino over individually. We will not be successful in our next action, simply because we just experienced success in the now. We must consciously recreate our success, one domino at a time. This also means that one negative result does not trigger another, there is no relationship between the actions we just took and what may happen next.

A sports match or race may involve hundreds of small events which we must focus on and execute to create a positive outcome. During my rowing career, the biggest challenge was to lose yourself in the act of ‘now’. One stroke at a time. The same goes for every sport. My best races remain vivid in my mind, I can still recall individual moments, actions I took to get the results I wanted. This is because my focus was tuned-into every moment, and every action.

Staying present in every moment enabled me to adapt and correct any errors, big or small, immediately as they occurred. I could recover instantly from a poor stroke and the crew could move on to making the next stroke successful. By not believing each moment determined the next, I didn’t dwell on mistakes, I didn’t miss another moment because I was still focused on what was now in the past. I would not rely on hoping the next domino would naturally fall, nor a successful stroke would lead to the next being just as great.

Want to be ATHLETE TOUGH™?

Being ATHLETE TOUGHTM is defined by the actions you take when your performance matters the most. Written by Bo Hanson, this unique and proven program is designed to ensure your athletes never give up, never quit on their team, and never quit on themselves. The ATHLETE TOUGHTM Program delivers strategies on how to be mentally resilient and provides step-by-step processes to help your athletes develop the skills to become and stay mentally strong. Find out more here.

We’re here to provide you with excellence in service and to help you be your best. If there is anything we can do to be of service, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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