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Body language can work wonders for a team, or it can spell disaster

By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer, jcarlson@opubco.com Published: January 23, 2010
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/> "With different kids, it’s different,” the Sooner coach said. "You just keep trying keys until you find the one that fits.”

With Danielle Robinson, the key to unlocking better body language was watching video of herself displaying bad body language.

"I actually have a (video) cut-up called ‘bad faces,’” said Coale, who added that Robinson is positive and confidence by nature but that the point guard plays the position where Coale believes body language is most important.

"She was absolutely mortified the first time she watched that film. It’s mostly her frustration with herself, but players, and point guards in particular, have to be aware that regardless of who that frustration is channeled to, everybody else on the floor receives that message.”

That is something Marshall Moses thinks about often. While he doesn’t play point guard, the OSU forward is a veteran on a young Cowboy team.

He knows that his body language makes a statement to his teammates.

"It’s very tough,” Moses said of maintaining good body language. "Anybody — I don’t care if it’s Michael Jordan — if you’re missing shots, it’s going to affect your mindset. But to not show it and to stay positive so your teammates who are making shots will continue ... that separates the good players from the great players.”

Jeff Capel has drilled that fact into Willie Warren’s head time and again.

There have been times when the sophomore star has looked bored during games. His face has been expressionless. His body has been lifeless.

His body language has said that he doesn’t care.

Capel’s message to Warren has been simple.

"Good body language is you’re always into it,” the coach said. "There’s a certain passion. There’s a certain look. A look of determination. A look of ‘I’m going to do everything I can to help my team.’”

Warren may finally be taking those words to heart. His body language was better not only against Texas A&M but also in come-from-behind victories at home against Oklahoma State and Missouri.

"I was very enthused,” Warren said. "I showed emotion on the court, and it just elevated everyone’s game to the next level.”

Seeing that his improved body language is paying dividends has motivated him to keep it up. During OU’s second-half rally at Texas A&M, Warren had a bounce in his step. He was energized. He was excited.

Not just for himself either. He high-fived when Tiny Gallon drew a foul. He applauded when Cade Davis hit a three. He slapped backsides when Tommy Mason-Griffin drove the lane.

"I just really feel if you an learn to do that ... what they’re doing subconsciously is they’re throwing themselves into the team,” Capel said, "and when you do that, you don’t feel as much pressure. You just go out, and you play.”

The evidence is clear — body language has an impact in games.

For the better or the worst.