A-Z Popular Blog Strategy Search »
Related Guides

5 Examples of a Head Fake

 , September 07, 2019
A head fake is a maneuver designed to distract or mislead by moving or positioning your head in a direction contrary to the intended movement of your body. This is a foundational tactic of sports and martial arts. The term head fake is also used more generally to indicate a shocking mismatch between expectations and reality. The following are common types of head fake.


A basketball player with possession of the ball darts their head one way and moves the other as they approach a defender. This is intended to trick the defender into committing to a movement in the wrong direction.


A head fake is an experience that differs from expectations such that you get things out of it that you never imaged despite not achieving your original goals. For example, a relaxing vacation that becomes a struggle for survival that makes you more resilient for the rest of your life.


A head fake is used to describe a sudden and dramatic move in markets that causes a surge of fear or greed only to quickly reverse. This happens all the time and often causes the emotional to sell or buy at a bad time.

Striking Fear Into The Hearts Of The Competition

Communications and programs that are designed to represent a threat that cause the competition to change their strategy. These are often a head fake that is not pursued seriously. For example, a technology company that begins developing a short and narrow tunnel that it claims will revolutionize transportation to distract competitors such as a high speed rail project that is actually realistic.

Feint Retreat

Pretending to retreat from a strategy in the hopes of reducing competitive pressures. For example, a technology company that announces layoffs in an AI research team in the hopes that competitors will write them off as a threat. These layoffs may relate to a low performing team such that the firm continues to aggressively invest in its overall AI programs.


The use of the term head fake to describe experience is credited to Randy Pausch from his well known lecture titled The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.
Overview: Head Fake
Definition (1)
A maneuver designed to distract or mislead by moving or positioning your head in a direction contrary to the intended movement of your body.
Definition (2)
An experience that strongly differs from your expectations.
Definition (3)
Signalling a feint attack or retreat in order to disorient your opponent.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about tactics.
Cut And Run
Do Nothing
Head Fake
Tit For Tat
More ...
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.


A few examples of tactics.

Strategy vs Tactics

A definition of strategy vs tactics with two examples.

Tactics Definition

A definition of strategy.

Tactical Planning

A definition of tactical planning with examples.

Tactical Goals

The definition of tactical goals with examples.

Gaming The System

The definition of gaming the system with examples.

Everyone Has A Plan

The source and meaning of Everyone Has A Plan Until They Get Punched in the Face.

Top-Down vs Bottom-Up

The differences between top-down and bottom-up with examples.

Examples of Problems

An overview of common types of problems.


An overview of shortcuts with examples.


A reasonably comprehensive guide to strategy.


The definition of end-goal with examples and comparisons.


The definition of incrementalism with examples.

There Is No Alternative

The definition of there is no alternative with examples.

Grand Strategy

The definition of grand strategy with examples.

Strategic Direction

The definition of strategic direction with examples.

Political Strategy

The definition of political strategy with examples.

Positive Feedback Loop

The definition of positive feedback loop with examples.

Strategy Implementation

A guide to strategy implementation.
The most popular articles on Simplicable in the past day.

New Articles

Recent posts or updates on Simplicable.
Site Map