Addiction treatment helps footballers’ team spirit

31 January 2012

Addiction treatment helps footballers’ team spirit

A total of 21 players took part in the project

Addiction treatment helps footballers’ team spirit 
Team work amongst top-class footballers could be improved by using story-telling techniques usually associated with recovering addicts, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers have found. 
    Academics from GCU and Staffordshire universities evaluated the ability of story-sharing techniques, officially known as personal-disclosure mutual-sharing or PDMS, to boost team work and ultimately performance amongst a top-level Scottish football club before a crunch cup tie.  
        Two weeks before the game the players were told by a sports psychologist to prepare a personal speech which would “convince [the player’s teammates that] they would want you in the team alongside them.” The players were also given questionnaires to scientifically assess team cohesion and communication.
     Two days before the match, each of the 21 players, aged between 18 and 33 and from a mixture of different countries, shared a personal story, even though five players had initially decided they lacked the confidence to speak. The team went on to perform better than their expectations although they lost the match after penalties. 
      The players were surveyed again a few weeks later to assess the effectiveness of the session. Although the quantitative research showed no statistically significant change in either cohesion or communication, the players reported improved team bonding, enhanced respect of teammates, and a better team attitude. 
    The squad’s overseas players, who had not been mixing with the other players outside of the training park, said they were integrating better socially after the study. Ten players who took part in the research were in the team which went on to win a domestic cup competition the following year, one of the players being quoted after the match: “We are a close team and I think that has been crucial… There are a lot of different nationalities but we mix brilliantly”. 
     The experiment, Doing Sport Psychology: Personal-Disclosure Mutual-Sharing in Professional Soccer, was published in journal The Sport Psychologist last year.
    Dr Paul McCarthy, a Glasgow Caledonian University lecturer in Psychology and a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, said:
     “Given the scarcity of literature addressing such interventions in professional sport, this study will encourage teams, and sports psychologists to perform further PDMS sessions with their teams, growing its popularity in football and other sports.”
The football team which took part in the study did so under conditions of strict anonymity. 

Team work amongst top-class footballers could be improved by using story-telling techniques usually associated with recovering addicts, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers have found. 

Academics from GCU and Staffordshire universities evaluated the ability of story-sharing techniques, officially known as personal-disclosure mutual-sharing or PDMS, to boost team work and ultimately performance amongst a top-level Scottish football club before a crunch cup tie.  

Two weeks before the game the players were told by a sports psychologist to prepare a personal speech which would “convince [the player’s teammates that] they would want you in the team alongside them.” The players were also given questionnaires to scientifically assess team cohesion and communication.

Two days before the match, each of the 21 players, aged between 18 and 33 and from a mixture of different countries, shared a personal story, even though five players had initially decided they lacked the confidence to speak. The team went on to perform better than their expectations although they lost the match after penalties. 

The players were surveyed again a few weeks later to assess the effectiveness of the session. Although the quantitative research showed no statistically significant change in either cohesion or communication, the players reported improved team bonding, enhanced respect of teammates, and a better team attitude. 

The squad’s overseas players, who had not been mixing with the other players outside of the training park, said they were integrating better socially after the study. Ten players who took part in the research were in the team which went on to win a domestic cup competition the following year, one of the players being quoted after the match: “We are a close team and I think that has been crucial… There are a lot of different nationalities but we mix brilliantly”. 

The experiment, Doing Sport Psychology: Personal-Disclosure Mutual-Sharing in Professional Soccer, was published in journal The Sport Psychologist last year.

Dr Paul McCarthy, a Glasgow Caledonian University lecturer in Psychology and a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, said: “Given the scarcity of literature addressing such interventions in professional sport, this study will encourage teams, and sports psychologists to perform further PDMS sessions with their teams, growing its popularity in football and other sports.”

The football team which took part in the study did so under conditions of strict anonymity. 

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