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The Value of a Little Bit

penny power little bit ten million dollars

Too often our players aren’t patient with anything other than making huge improvements and doing them right now. And let’s be honest, how often do those great leaps in skill really happen?

Discover the role that a “Little Bit” can play in your team’s improvement.

While achieving a monumental jump in skill is virtually impossible overnight, it doesn’t mean small steps or baby strides toward improvement aren’t happening. Players often make little-bitty improvements every day, but dismiss them as insignificant, as if a “little bit” doesn’t matter at all.

Well, let’s look at just how powerful a Little Bit can really be. Pop Quiz – What do you think your players would pick if you gave them a choice between having a million dollars right now, and taking a penny and doubling it every day for a month? I’ll bet that most of your players would take the million dollars, and let’s face it, it would be hard not to. The million dollars represents an immediate reward and a huge amount of money. It represents what our players want in the way of skill improvement, which is an immediate reward and sudden success.

Now, what about the penny? This story isn’t about sudden success or huge improvements, but is about the Power of a Little Bit. Nothing is more representative of a little bit of anything than the penny – 1 cent. A penny is so insignificant that most people don’t stop to pick it up if they find a one on the ground, or they simply grab one out of the dish if they’re a penny short at the checkout counter. But as we’re about to see, a little bit of anything added on top of itself over and over is a very powerful thing.

Looking at our offer – a million dollars now or a penny doubled every day for a month – which one would you take? You might be surprised to learn that had you taken the penny offer you would have been a millionaire on Day #28 (and actually had $342,177.28 extra), and at the end of your month (a 31 day month) you would have ended up with $10 Million ! $10 Million – and yet you started with something as little and insignificant as a penny!  Just in case you don’t believe me the chart below shows the actual path your penny will take as it doubles itself over the course of a month.

Day Amount
Day 1 $.01
Day 2 $.02
Day 3 $.04
Day 4 $.08
Day 5 $.16
Day 6 $.32
Day 7 $.64
Day 8 $1.28
Day 9 $2.56
Day 10 $5.12
Day 11 $10.24
Day 12 $20.48
Day 13 $40.96
Day 14 $81.92
Day 15 $163.84
Day 16 $327.68
Day 17 $655.36
Day 18 $1,310.72
Day 19 $2,621.44
Day 20 $5,242.88
Day 21 $10,485.76
Day 22 $20,971.52
Day 23 $41,943.04
Day 24 $83,886.08
Day 25 $167,772.16
Day 26 $335,544.32
Day 27 $671,088.64
Day 28 $1,342,177.28
Day 29 $2,684,354.56
Day 30 $5,368,709.12
Day 31 $10,737,418.24

So the next time your players get frustrated with themselves, or dismiss making even a little bit of progress, remind them of the Power of a Little Bit – how a penny doubled every day for a month will result in over $10 Million! A little bit done day after day after day adds up to a whole lotta bit!

By the way, this is also a very powerful lesson for us as coaches when it comes to staying patient at the beginning of the season when our team might not be playing like we know they will eventually need to. As long as they’re making a little bit of progress every day, then in a pretty short period of time that progress will start to compound, and then when it really starts to matter that same team is suddenly really good!

For more ways to help your players improve during Practice check out the following:

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