Strength And Conditioning, Mental Health

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What if Victory Is Contagious?

Published: 2020-10-16
What if Victory Is Contagious?
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Have you ever asked yourself that question?

I have been doing it for years. Is it just a high-sounding headline that sportswriters put on their articles to catch the eye, or is there some truth to it?

Recently I read that a level of Midget AAA hockey team, had an incredible sequence of 40 triumphs, and I am asked again: "Is it really possible that the victory is contagious? Are these young players chronically affected, which compels them to win?"    

We all know the sport well enough to question that claim. If possible, it is obvious that it would be known and that the professional teams would give their soul to be contaminated.

Frankly, I don’t know what to say, because we have to admit that no serious study has looked at this issue. There is therefore no mathematical or psychological or science answering the question.

Happiness, however, is contagious. This has been scientifically proven by two American sociologists whose research results, conducted over more than 20 years, were published a few years ago by the British Medical Journal. Professors Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego were trying to assess whether happiness could spread from person to person.

They came to the astonishing conclusion that happiness is caught, much like a cold; that it infects like a germ. Better yet, they calculated the probabilities. So having a happy friend increases your chances of being happy yourself by 15.3 %.

However, for this to work, you have to come into direct contact with the bearer of happiness. Texting, cellphones, or social media in general hardly have any influence.

The researchers also noted that happy people are generally surrounded by others, which is a plus since happiness seems to behave like a virus. So the more people a happy person meets, the more they can influence them and the more happy individuals there can be.

Having said that, what is the relationship between happiness and victory, you will ask me? At first glance, none.

One can still extrapolate and pretend that winning makes happy players.

And, since happiness is contagious, it will spread quickly and widely to all team members. We will therefore naturally try to recreate the conditions - winning - that made this happiness possible to continue to be happy.

In other words, players will aim for a victory to relive that feeling. In this sense, it is indeed possible that victory is contagious.


Conversely, when players are unhappy when the atmosphere both during the game and in the locker room is poor, the quality of play can crumble. It is possible to believe that this will a real impact on the results of the team. It could even favor a losing streak.

When a professional team through a difficult period where setbacks accumulate, leaders have usually diagnosed first a problem of attitude. Doesn't that become another way of saying that players are not happy?

So, is victory contagious? Nothing is less certain. But, if there was even a little bit of truth here, why not take advantage of it?

In my opinion, this confirms that a fundamental part of playing any sport begins with the enjoyment of playing it. When we love what we do, we are definitely better and ultimately… we are happy.

So choose happiness and maybe victory will come more easily!