What psychologists know about football

What psychologists know about football


Games "on the fly" at a crucial stage of the world championship series rarely do without penalty kick - penalty. They are used when the team did not manage to outdo each other during the game. Study of psychological phenomenon penalty devoted not one study, and they all agree that the penalty becomes a serious stress for the goalies. Perhaps for this reason, the goalkeeper manages to reflect only about 18% of all strokes executed.

A specialist in the field of physiology and neurophysiology of the Institute for traffic in Amsterdam, John van der Kamp (John van der Kamp) decided to help goalkeepers. He has published several works *, in which he tried to figure out what to do and how to protect their goal. van der Kamp advice is until the next. Before hitting the goalkeeper should not take a position on the center of the gate, and shifted to one of the rods 6-10 centimeters. Officer penalty a player can not recognize the asymmetry of this arrangement. However, it will record the brain unconsciously, that the distance from the goalkeeper to one of the bars is still more than to the other. It is in this way and will be forwarded to the impact, and consequently there and you have to jump in order to save the team.

However, van der Kamp himself admits that this method works not always. Nevertheless, asymmetrical arrangement of the goalkeeper by at least 10% increases the likelihood that an attack will follow in that part of the gate, which visually appears to be less secure. Well, even a ten advantage - not bad, especially if in a penalty shootout will decide the fate of the world championship.


Daryl Rosenbaum, MD, of the American Research Center of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, set out to bring out into the football simulators. The problem is so acute that in 2008 the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA - the world highest football authority) issued a directive calling for "condemn simulation of injuries and fight for the eradication of this phenomenon in the game." Unfortunately, the situation has not improved at all, and the players continued to writhe on the field in hellfire, asking the judges to sentence opponents, and then jump up and continue to play as if nothing had happened. Rosenbaum analyzed videos of several hundreds of international football matches. Stipulating that only the player can say with full confidence, whether he is experiencing severe pain and there was a real trauma, a scientist suggested the division into "observed damage" and "confirmation of damage." For the observed damage to Dr. Rosenbaum took any situation where a football player fell and his whole appearance showed that he could not continue the game. The number of confirmed hit damage, after which the player may not return to the field of five minutes or more, or even turned out to be replaced, as well as situations where damage was evident, for example, bleeding.

What psychologists know about football

The results ** blush should make a strong half of mankind. The men's soccer team matches Daryl Rosenbaum counted an average of 11, 26, "observed damage" for the game. In women's football matches for one game had an average of 5, 74 "of the observed damage" - half. But that's not all. "Observed damage" turned out as a result confirmed almost twice as often in women's matches - 13, 7% of the cases (in men - only 7, 2%). From this it follows irrefutably that men's soccer simulation is subject to a much greater extent than women. Falling and writhing girl in the course of the game less than men. And if you fall, the more often the cause is really good.

And most importantly: no connection number of observed and confirmed damage could not be found with the results of matches to Dr. Rosenbaum. Therefore, the science says, enough to squirm, you have to play!


Marketers from the French business school INSEAD Pierre Chandon (Pierre Chandon) and Jan Cornelius (Yann Cornil) established a link between the results of performances of football teams and obesity. However, the object of his research *** French for some reason chose football, but the results were very interesting. Shandon and Cornelius found that after the defeat of their favorite teams fans prefer more fatty and high-calorie food. Thus, consumption of highly saturated fats increases by an average of 16%, and the total calorie consumption - by 10%. In the cities, where there is only one team, or where football - an important part of city life, these figures are even higher. For example, in Pittsburgh or Detroit in the black days for fans of highly saturated fats consumption increases by almost a third (or more precisely - 28%). These data are quite consistent with the known facts of science: experiencing negative emotions, many of us tend to "seize the mountain." The brain is in dire need of the source of positive impulses, which becomes sweet or fatty foods. More interesting and surprising looks the influence of football success. As established Shandon and Cornelius, after spectators Ratio of highly saturated fats consumption is reduced by 9%, and the calorie - 5%. Scientists suggest that positive emotions allows fans to pay less attention to food and do not look for it in some special pleasure: because the main joy already received. It is also possible that after the victory of the brain unconsciously prefer long-term strategies. It can be connected with the joyful anticipation of the next game. Well, a healthy diet is also impossible not to recognize the very reasonable long-term strategy.

It should be remembered that this study is about football. However, the Pierre Chandon sure its results are quite extend to the actual football. Commenting on his work, he said that in previous years the French national football team played awful. And hardly a coincidence that the scientist himself recovered a few kilos over the years. If so, then at least out of the nation's health care reasons, the Russian team is obliged to act in the world championship as best as possible.

* R. Masters et al. "Regard and perceptions of size in soccer: Better is bigger". Perception, 2010, № 39, 1290-1295; Masters et al. "Imperceptibly off-centre goalkeepers influence penalty-kick direction in soccer". Psychological Science, 2007, № 18, 222-223.

** Rosenbaum et al. "Estimation of injury simulation in international men's soccer". Int J Sports Med. 2010; № 31 (10): 747-750. *** Y. Cornil and P. Chandon "From Fan to Fat? Vicarious Losing Increases Unhealthy Eating but Self-Affirmation is an Effective Remedy ". Psychological Science, 2013, № 24 (10), 1936-46.