External Factors affecting Sporting Performance
Task cohesion is the degree to which teams are commited to working together to achieve common goals.
Social cohesion is the degree to which teams like, trust and support each other.
Social loafing - some research suggests that individuals will contribute less effort when part of a team than when completely alone. This happens because of they presume that their reduced effort will not be noticed and will not matter as others will try hard.
Team membership - the struggle or failure of a team may be determined by the extent of team cohesion. This emerges during the latter stages of Tuckman's stages of team development.
Drive Theory of Social Facilitaion
Zajonc (1968), suggests that the mere presence of an audience when attempting a complex task will lead to impaired performance but that the mere presence of an audience when attempting a simple task would improve performance.
- Zajonc (1969), found that cockroaches preformed simple tasks faster with an audience than when alone but, performed complex tasks faster alone than with an audience. This suggests that the mere presence of an audience is enough to create anxiety which links in to the inverted U theory of anxiety. However, in real life situations, such as sporting events, an audience is never 'merly present' and so is very difficult to generalise.
- Michaels et al (1982), found that above average players of snooker potted balls an 80% with an audience (simple task) but, only 71% of the time. He also found that below average players potted balls 25% of shots with an audience (complex task) but were successful in 36% of shots when alone. This suggests that it is the complexity of the task pared with the amount of anxiety, caused by the presence of an audience that causes anxiety. This is uses a human participants so is better evidence in support of drive theory. However, the audience is just 'merely present' unlike sports audiences and people are constantly aware of being watched so not unlikely to be merely present.
Effects of an Interactive Audience
Sports crowds are usually highly interactive and tend to be very positive towards the home team but negative towards the away team. It is possible that the presence of this crowd leads to social facilitation and therefore explains the 'home court advantage'. However, it is also possible that sports crowds have a negative effect on the away team or both factors are happening simultaneously.
- Vaca (1980) found the home team scored much better on functional behaviours and significantly fewer dysfunctional behaviours than the away team. This suggests that the home team's performance is improved by an interactive crowd this could be linked to the Inverted U theory and levels of arousal. However, it could be that the crowds reactions influence the decisions of the referee.
- Silva & Andrew found away teams tended to perform badly compared to the 'pre-game standard'. It is more realistic to think of this as an away team disadvantage. However, the away team are more likely to have traveled as well as other factors that are affecting their performance.
Team cohesion can be defined as 'a dynamic process which is reflected in the tendency for a group to stick together and remain united in the pursuit of objectives' - Carron (1982)
- Carron et al (2002), found that most cohesion leads to better performance, there is a much stronger relationship between cohesion & performance in men than women and task cohesion was more important that social cohesion. This suggests that the level of cohesion matters as with only a small amount of cohesion performance is worse. It also suggests that task cohesion is better when improving performance. Men are also shown to have a tendency towards task cohesion rather than social cohesion.
- Bray & Whaley (2001, found individuals in teams with sturdy social cohesion appeared to try harder and therefore performed better. This suggests that by feeling emotionally bonded to the team lead to higher levels of motivation. It also contradicts Carron et al as it suggests that social cohesion may be a precursor for task cohesion. However, it is possible that all of these results could be explained in terms of success increasing team cohesion rather than team cohesion increasing success.
- Mathseon et al (1977), demonstrated that winning and loosing could change the level of cohesion, especially in interacting sports such as lacrosse.
- Drive theory of social cohesion
- Effects of an interactive audience
- Silva & Andrew
- Team cohesion
- Task cohesion definition
- Social cohesion definition
- Brey & Whaley