Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

A Coach Improves Tiny Things by One Percent

British Cycling was in a desperate situation. Since 1908, British riders had won just a single Olympic gold medal. Their performance was so bad that a top manufacturer in Europe refused to sell bikes to the team because they were afraid that it would hurt sales if other professionals saw the Brits using their gear.

Then the organization hired Dave Brailsford. What made Brailsford different was his relentless commitment to searching for a tiny margin of improvement in everything they did. He said, “You break down everything that goes into riding a bike. Then you improve it by one percent and you will get a significant increase when you put them all together.”

Brailsford and his team made small adjustments in hundreds of different areas. They redesigned the bike seats for more comfort. They rubbed alcohol on the tires for a better grip. The coach had the riders switch to lighter and more aerodynamic indoor racing suits.

As these one percent improvements accumulated, the results came faster than anyone could have imagined. In just five years the British Cycling team dominated the cycling events at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. They won an astounding 60 percent of the gold medals available. Four years later, at the London Olympic Games, the team set nine Olympic records and seven world records.

Possible Preaching Angles: Sometimes God asks us to make radical changes. But sometimes God may also ask us to make small but consistent adjustments—one percent changes. Where is God asking you to make a one percent adjustment? These changes are simple but they are also decisive and long-term. As you continue to obey the Lord and ask him to change you, these one percent changes can make a huge difference.

James Clear, Atomic Habits, (Avery, 2018), Pages 13-16

Related Sermon Illustrations

NFL Quarterback Says Performance Requires Going on Autopilot

Any skill, art, or good habit requires more than knowledge. It also requires hours of training and practice. For instance, when Alec Baldwin asked NFL quarterback Andrew Luck what ...

[Read More]

The Global Trend of Looking for the Quick Fix

Jeffrey Zacks, professor of psychology and radiology at Washington University in St Louis, laments what he calls a "global trend" of looking for short cuts to solve our problems.

Is ...
[Read More]