Positive 'Safety' Memory

In high school, everyone is looking for an identity and for me it was basketball. While some looked for a party on a Friday night, I sought out a court with lights and a game.

Basketball

By Matt Forck

In high school, everyone is looking for an identity and for me it was basketball. While some looked for a party on a Friday night, I sought out a court with lights and a game. As some classmates drove through McDonald's looking for friends, I drove through the lane. One of the highlights of my high school basketball career came in the summer when I had the opportunity to attend the Norm Stewart Basketball Camp in Columbia, Mo.

Growing up in Missouri, I was a huge Missouri Tiger fan and Norm Stewart was the school's legendary coach. In addition, many of his players were present to coach and participate in the camp. On the second day, I chose to attend the morning shooting clinic. I was amazed when former MU Tiger, college all-American and National Basketball Association player, Jon Sunvold, was the featured speaker.

Basketball

But, Sunvold didn't just speak, he had us sit in a large circle around the basket, sitting about 35-feet away it. From there, he began to speak and shoot baskets. Not only did he shoot and speak, but his speed and intensity was near that of an NBA game. He dashed after missed shots. He gave real-time head fakes. He drove the basket like his life depended on it. Finally, he arched shots as if the tallest of professional centers were running at him. After a 40-minute presentation, he stopped and asked how many shots he made and how many he missed. No one was counting, except Sunvold; he told us exactly how many were taken, made and missed!

"Talent is cheaper than table salt," Steven King once said, "What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work."

At my son's recent Taekwondo practice, the instructor stopped the class to remind students to kick strong. He said that if you can teach yourself to kick hard with proper technique, you will create muscle memory.

"Muscle memory is how your body knows it should be done," the instructor said. "If you kick lazy, your body will think that is the way it should be done. If you learn to kick strong, that is the only way your body will remember."

Sunvold obviously created the right muscle memory habit when shooting baskets-he knew one speed and one speed only. What's our muscle memory when it comes to safe work? Is it intense or slow? Do we play for keeps or go through the motions? Kick and shoot well-safety depends on it.


About the Author: Matt Forck, CSP and JLW, leads safety conferences, seminars and keynote presentations on safety's most urgent topics including leadership, accountability and cultural change. A noted speaker, Matt is a former journey line worker and member of a utility safety staff. Matt has also published six books and dozens of articles. Contact Matt, learn about FREE resources or inquire about having Matt speak at your next event through his website at www.safestrat.com.

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