I Follow Goals: A Legendary Shootout

Oh I beg you, can I follow
Oh I ask you why not always
Be the ocean where unravel
Be my only, be the water and I’m wading
You’re my river running high, run deep run wild

Lykke Li (I Follow You)

Posted in Football

Sex before the match!?

[voor een Nederlandse vertaling van dit bericht klik hier]

In sports, long the idea has prevailed that sexual abstinence, that is, no sex before competition, is good for sports performance. Recent research however shows that healthier people have more sex. This raises an interesting question for the football-player: if health and sex are linked, what about performance and sex? Is having sex before a game good or bad for your performance on the pitch? Australian Catholic University Sport scientist Gert-Jan Pepping tackled this question. In particular, Pepping’s research group is interested in whether the chemicals produced in your body, and especially your brain, during sex, might make you a better football-player.

Read more ›

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Posted in Football, My own research, Science General, Sport Science

Positive Coaching

Imagine you’re coaching a big football game, against an undefeated team that has beaten your team in all your previous matches. Your 11-year-olds are playing well and are ahead. Then, in the closing minutes, the official makes a bad call that goes against you and, because of it, you lose. After the game, the parents of your players scream at the official. The kids are disappointed, looking up at you. What do you do? [for a suggestion – scroll down]

Coaches can be enormously influential in the lives of children. If you ask a random group of adults to recall something of significance that happened when they were young, many will draw a blank. Read more ›

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Posted in Football, My own research, Science General, Sport Science

Oxytocin and Team Decision Making

Dr. Paul Zak explains how morality (read: important decisions when we work together with other people, such as in team sports), is linked to the neuro-peptide oxytocin. Taken from the BBC documentary Horizon: Are you Good or Evil.

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Posted in Football, Joint Action, My own research, Science General, Sport Science

Why we love

A world without Love is a deadly place – Shakespeare. But what is Love? George Bernard Shaw ones said: Love consists of overestimating the differences between one woman and another. Helen Fisher is an anthropologist with Rutgers University, specializing in gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. Her most recent book is Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love. In this wide-ranging talk, she outlines the bio-chemical foundations of love (and lust), and discusses the natural talents of women, and their new significance in the modern world.

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Posted in Science General

Vision-Movement-Balance; A Study of Visual Kinaesthesis (1974)

Dave Lee in the Swinging Room

Classic video by David N. Lee and J. R. Lishman from the Perception-in-Action Laboratory at the Department of Psychology, Edinburgh University. It is one of the first video’s (if not THE first) to document Dave Lee’s revolutionary ideas on optic flow. The video is largely based on the ideas presented in a scientific paper written by Lee and Aronson on  the Swinging Room (full title: VISUAL PROPRIOCEPTIVE CONTROL OF STANDING IN HUMAN INFANTS, Perception and Psychophysics, 1974 vol:15 iss:3 pg:529 -532.

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Posted in Ecological Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Science General

Laughter really is the best medicine

People feel less pain after a good laugh, because it may cause the body to release chemicals that act as a natural painkiller, research has suggested.

Scientists based at Oxford University found that when we laugh properly – as opposed to producing a polite titter – the physical exertion leaves us exhausted and thereby triggers the release of protective endorphins, brain chemicals that help us to manage pain and promote feelings of well being.  The research, which was partly conducted at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, suggests that watching just 15 minutes of comedy with others increased the pain threshold by an average of about ten per cent. Read more ›

Posted in Science General

Little touches mean a lot

Clockwise from top left: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images; Mark Avery/Reuters; Vivek Prakash/Reuters Charles; Dharapak/Associated Press

Tactile Communication, Cooperation, and Performance.

A quick hug, fist pound, high five or belly bump can communicate a wide range of emotions, sometimes more accurately than words. Psychologists have long studied the grunts and winks of nonverbal communication, the vocal tones and facial expressions that carry emotion. A warm tone of voice, a hostile stare — both have the same meaning in Terre Haute or Timbuktu, and are among dozens of signals that form a universal human vocabulary.

But in recent years some researchers have begun to focus on a different, often more subtle kind of wordless communication: physical contact. Momentary touches, they say — whether an exuberant high five, a warm hand on the shoulder, or a creepy touch to the arm — can communicate an even wider range of emotion than gestures or expressions, and sometimes do so more quickly and accurately than words.

Read the whole news article here: Mind – New Research Focuses on the Power of Physical Contact – NYTimes.com or find the research article: Kraus, M. W., Huang, C., & Keltner, D. (2010). Tactile communication, cooperation, and performance: An ethological study of the NBA Emotion, 10(5), 745–749. doi:10.1037/a0019382

Posted in Science General, Sport Science

Sportsmyths: sex before a game – do or don’t?

I think soccer player contracts should have a clause going something like: the player has to have sex on the day before a game and, if possible, on the day of the game. When I do it before a game I feel different. I feel lighter, my legs are more nimble. … If I don’t have sex on the day before a game, something will be missing. ” Romario

Can sex and sport mix?

Can sex and sport mix?

Some athletes, including Linford Christie, never do “it” before competition. “Abstinence makes you more aggressive,” he says. Others claim the opposite: “Good attackers score better if they have had sex the day before the game” Brazilian former footballer Romario once claimed.

It seems the experts don’t agree. One hypothesis states that sex increases testosterone levels in the body and thus produces a natural form of doping. Read more ›

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Posted in My own research, Science General, Sport Science

Associating interpersonal relations within a team and ‘on the pitch’ decision-making in football

A poster I presented at FEPSAC 2011 Madeira

Research to date in sport psychology has mainly focused on the individual athlete and the necessaries they need to achieve expert performance. In doing so, the impact of the (social, emotional, etc.) performance environment in which an athlete prepares and competes is often overlooked. In team sport such as football individuals as well as the team mutually influence team and individual performance. In the current study we examined the influence of interpersonal relationships on decision-making in football. Read more ›

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Posted in Football, My own research, Sport Science