Sports Psychology – Team Effectivness
Sports| German football and major international sports news
If few, apart from Jürgen Klopp and his team, believed that Liverpool could reverse their 3-0 loss from their first leg defeat in Barcelona, even fewer would have believed that a depleted Tottenham side could come back from a three-goal halftime deficit in their second leg against Ajax. Both Klopp’s team and Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs pulled off amazing comebacks on Tuesday and Wednesday to set up an all-English Champions League final in Madrid on June 1. Jens Kleinert, head of the psychology institute at the German Sport University Cologne, told DW that you can only pull off something like Liverpool and Tottenham did this week if the right basic mental attitude exists in the team in the first place. Apart from going on the offensive by replacing midfielder Victor Wanyama with striker Fernando Llorente at the break, Pochettino had to find the words during halftime to make his players believe the comeback was actually possible. This was particularly crucial, given that Spurs have been struggling for form in the Premier League for weeks.
According to Kleinert this wouldn’t have posed as much of a problem as you may think. This, he said, meant that Pochettino would have been able to use these past successes, to convince his players believe that coming back wasn’t just a theoretically possibility. Winner and loser: Toby Alderweireld of Spurs consoles Ajax striker Dusan Tadic moments after the final whistle. The team fighting to come back from a deficit is only one side of the equation. This effect is magnified when the attacking side pulls one back, as Liverpool did through Divock Origi’s goal in the seventh minute of Tuesday’s match, or as Spurs did with Lucas Moura’s first in the 55th minute on Wednesday.
This effect also becomes greater the closer the defending team is to victory, particularly in a key match like a Champions League semifinal. While Kleinert noted that the mental side of the game is only a small aspect of what goes into a comeback or winning in general – it can be decisive in a close match – perhaps like the one Klopp and Pochettino are set for in Madrid.
Researchers provide practical suggestions for empowering football coaches to make reliable assessments of player psychological characteristics that are important for performance – and so help boost player success and well-being. With the 2018 World Cup just around the corner, football players and coaches are preparing to perform at their best. A recent article proposes that coaches should be empowered to make reliable assessments of player psychological characteristics, based on their behavior during matches and training. Published in Frontiers in Psychology, the article suggests that football coaches, with their extensive experience, could provide unique insights into the psychological characteristics required for player success. Currently, some football teams ask their coaches to assess their players’ psychological characteristics.
Studies on player psychology have been mostly based on standardized questionnaires filled out by the players themselves. In the new article, researchers based at the German Sport University Cologne propose that football coaches could provide a unique perspective on player psychology. Sports psychology researchers have largely overlooked coaches as a source of information on player psychology. Through working with a variety of players with different temperaments and skill levels, coaches have unique insight into the characteristics of successful players. While players may overestimate their performance, previous studies have shown that coaches do not.
If coaches are to contribute in assessing player psychology, it is important that they make sound judgements about players’ psychological characteristics. The authors conclude their article by stressing that the benefits of assessing and fostering player psychology may extend beyond enhanced performances on the pitch, to increased player well-being and positive relationships among the squad. Original article: Psychological Characteristics in Talented Soccer Players – Recommendations on How to Improve Coaches’ Assessment.
Ever since, the nation has been held in thrall to the spectacle of sports fans debating the ideal gas law. For six months we’ve watched fans rally through scandal to support their teams. Baltimore fans backed Ray Rice after he beat his future wife on video, Washington fans defended the team’s offensive name, and football fans rationalize the head trauma that players endure. Obviously, this is not exclusive to the NFL – Dutch soccer fans embraced the diver Arjen Robben, who drew a World Cup game-winning penalty kick against Mexico by falling theatrically after, er, minimal contact – or even to sports. A researcher studying a 1951 football game between Dartmouth and Princeton noticed that fans simply could not agree on what had happened.
Sports fans see things that way for the same reasons partisans do in political, cultural and scientific controversies: That’s how people behave. Sports fan bases are not trivially sorted groups. Athletic teams offer not just a connection with the players and fellow fans, but also with regional pride, family relationships, color preferences, aesthetic tastes and even moral standards. Teams or players can assume religious, ethnic or political identities – such as Tim Tebow’s overt Christianity or FC Barcelona’s traditional ties to Catalan autonomy – further ensnaring the loyalties of their fans. If we mapped the brain of a sports fan as she looked at her favorite team or player, says Arthur Aron, a psychologist who has studied interpersonal relationships for decades, we would expect to find a response similar to the one she has when she looks at a picture of her spouse.
Fans are an illustration of the way invested people might demand a higher standard of evidence, or a different presentation of the evidence, than other people would. DeflateGate is the most ridiculous, least important of all of these issues, so we may have to take our comfort from a lesser place: A lot more sports fans now know about the ideal gas law.