Grab a stiff drink. Sit down. Take this news in slowly.
Neuroscientists have suggested that top sportspeople perceive the crucial moment – the instant before playing a stroke or making a pass – more efficiently than their competitors do. Result? They have more time to make a correct decision, and don’t get rushed into making a wrong one.
Furthermore, they get better at this the more they practise.
The researchers are a bit tentative about what’s going on here, but they surmise it’s ‘probably related to how well the brain can maximise the flow of information coming from the eyes’.
So that’s how Andy Murray did it.
Phew. You’ve got to hand it to the team from University College, London. Just consider their achievement.
They’ve enjoyed an agreeable time unearthing the self-evident – that top players see things better, react accordingly and improve with practice. They secured a research grant to do it. And they got a spot on the Today programme to broadcast their findings.
At a time when money’s tight everywhere, that’s a lesson to us all. Funds are available if you’re confident that what you supply in return will turn out to be unarguably true.
Every cloud …
For instance, I have a strong belief that people tend to use umbrellas more when it’s raining than when it isn’t. I base this finding on careful observation in Manchester over the years, and also asking between six and eight people (seven, in fact) how they utilise rain-protection mechanisms at moments of precipitation.
I can supply this research at a suitable price to umbrella retailers – and I can build in an exclusivity factor, thus guaranteeing a significant advantage over competitors in the market.
The hour of need
The food sector looks promising, too.
I know of a bespoke sandwich-maker who is continually taken by surprise every weekday between 1 and 2 pm. The sudden rise in traffic bewilders him. Orders pile up, queues build, tempers fray, arguments flare up over orders. For the rest of the day he and his sole assistant have little to do. He finds it inexplicable.
My extensive research – into office hours, what people do at lunchtime and whether panini is singular or plural – would be a boon to him and his business. If he’s reading, incisive data and inspired conclusions are at hand at an SME discount.
The green shoots of discovery
Admittedly, it’s a bit early for hitting the gardening market – but it’s always good to look ahead. I’ve done a bit of investigation here, and come up with some crucial findings.
Did you realise that 100% of domestic lawnmowers are bought by people who have a grassy area in their garden? My wide research showed that the four people in the sample who possessed lawnmowers also possessed lawns, and that the one mowerless respondent didn’t have a lawn – and, significantly, he wouldn’t consider buying a mower next Spring.
Invaluable revelations for gardening equipment merchants, I’m sure you’ll agree. This research tells them exactly who their target audience is. Information like that is like gold dust, but I’m prepared to hand over a full report for the price of a can of creosote (usually bought by people who possess garden fences, incidentally – another nugget unearthed in my enquiries).
If you’re in any of those sectors mentioned – or any others, come to that – I’d be delighted to create some great advertising for you. But I’m giving up the research side of things for now, unless the UCL team can point me in the direction of whoever funded theirs.