The Cleveland Cavaliers win their first game in almost 2 months Friday night (losing 26 games in a row during that span), but Friday’s victory against the Clippers could be the start of a new winning streak. During the losing streak the Cavs have been the lead of most nightly news sports stories, and team frustration has been easily observed by fans. On Friday, however, something special happened and the stars lined up leading to their big win against LA.In sports, the term “momentum” is often used when describing teams and their sports performance success (or lack thereof).
Interestingly, momentum is unique to sports, as most of us who don’t compete as professional athletes rarely talk about the momentum of our work organization. But in sports, momentum can be a really big thing – the problem is it’s tough to say what it is, much less how it occurs.
In Cleveland, it’s pretty safe to say they have been dealing with negative momentum this season that probably started with their humiliating loss to LeBron James and the Heat in December. Since that game, the team has crumbled and turned into one of the worst NBA teams in league history. Friday’s big win, however, could be the game-changer the Cavs needed, and could result in a new, positive momentum swing.
Team momentum can have a huge impact on team success, but what exactly is momentum? In reality, momentum is more of a slang term used to describe mental toughness as evidenced through the delicate interplay between the talent of players on the team, overall team culture, and the relationship a team has with its fan base. These variables, when in line and in synchrony, can help teams win as a result of their confidence, belief, resiliency, and emotions. Delving deeper, when teams pick up positive momentum they “play to win” and often play over their heads – and the exact opposite occurs when team momentum is bad. In Cleveland, the fans have been supportive for the most part, and there are some talented players on the team. The question now will be whether the Cavs can magically weave all their pieces back together and salvage the rest of the season.