Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The Perfect Improper Percentage

We'll put 1,000,010% effort into this study
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Sports coaches and players are fond of announcing that they'll "give 100%" in their upcoming match.

The 100% figure used to be consistent. However, inflation, oneupmanship and globalisation have resulted in a variety of figures now being used, with 100% and 110% being the most popular, but ranging as high as 1,000%, with even the occasional 1,000,000% being promised.

Pedants quibble that it's impossible to give more than 100%, and that sportsmen who claim they'll do so are talking out of their gluteal cleft.

Yet they haven't considered the possibility that the act of uttering such powerful statements as, "Yeah, Brian, well, obviously, we're gonna go out and, like, give it 110%, you know?" fuel the speakers with such added desire and willpower that they actually become capable of giving more than they could otherwise have. Or perhaps it's the reverse - if a coach promises his team will give "a billion per cent," his players' laughter and disbelief might actually impair their performance.

I propose to create a computer program that searches online media and other websites for examples of the Improper Percentage used in a sports-related context. The percentages proffered are then compared with the results of the matches in question.

The results will allow us to establish what the ideal percentage is, what a sports player or coach should offer in order to achieve maximum sporting success.

Future studies will extend our findings into the fields of business and politics.

imaginality, Oct 04 2007

Yogi Berra quote http://www.quotedb.com/quotes/1318
"You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn't enough in the second half you give what's left." [imaginality, Oct 04 2007]

Giving 105% in business http://www.bpic.co....cles/never_give.htm
[imaginality, Oct 04 2007]

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       That term is used in many instances other than sports. % ‰ ‱
BJS, Oct 04 2007
  

       I always thought it would be funny if someone evaluated their performance accurately "Yeah, well I'm gonna go out there and give it around 80-85%, yu' know it's been a hard week"   

       Also, if a player is going to 'give' 110% of something to the fans, he could give viewing time. In a 90 minute football match, he could just walk round the pitch and wave at the crowd at half time.
marklar, Oct 04 2007
  

       <statistically accurate team coach>"I want you to go out there and give it 85% plus or minus two standard deviations, and WIN!!"</statistically accurate team coach>
hippo, Oct 04 2007
  

       They are generally weak statements as they fail to specify OF WHAT one will give 110%. However, basic economics means that giving in excess of 100% of anything results in debt.   

       Thus, giving 110% effort to a sporting jolly would result in you only having e.g. 84.5% (90% less compounded interest) effort for your next match, unless you only pay off the interest in which case you'd be able to give 94.5%.   

       But for this idea... a bun... it make sense, it is logical and it could be easily achieved.
vincevincevince, Oct 04 2007
  

       a large percentage of a bun. +
k_sra, Oct 04 2007
  
      
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