The Half-Second Difference

Zig Ziglar on

Several years ago, the Big Ten Football Conference did a study on the difference between winning football teams and losing teams. It studied all factors: the quality of the facility, the equipment used, the extent of training and recruiting efforts. It studied the sizes and speeds of the athletes and a host of other things.

The bottom line was clear: The difference between the first-place and second-place teams was the difference in length of total effort. The average first-place player went all-out two and seven-tenths seconds on every play. The difference between first and second place was five-tenths of a second in total effort. The difference between the team that finished first and the team that finished last was nine-tenths of a second in time spent in all-out effort.

Since there are roughly 120 to 130 plays in a game, with 60 to 65 seconds on offense and the same amount on defense, this means that if each player went all-out just 30 seconds per game or a half-second on each play, the results would be dramatically different. That's the famous "half-step" coaches often speak about. These are the players who are around the ball far more often. They recover the fumbles, block the punts, intercept the passes. They're the ones who hold their block the extra half-second to permit the running back to get through the line or prevent the defensive rush from getting to the quarterback. The half-second enables the wide receiver to get that step on the defensive back and catch the pass, or it enables the defensive back to get the position on the receiver and intercept the pass.

Message: Little things make big differences in every facet of life, so to get the most out of life, give life the little extra that makes the difference between winning and losing, and I'll see you at the top!


"He who has done his best for his own time has lived for all times." -- Johann von Schiller


To find out more about Zig Ziglar and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at




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