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Audience and Crowd Effects in Sport
Transcript of Audience and Crowd Effects in Sport
-Dan O'Brian Social Facilitation- Research is based on the notion that the presence of audience of one or more spectators can facilitate performance. Research in the area of social facilitation was significantly influenced by the work of Robert Zajonc.
His model proposed that the presence of an audience has the effect of increasing arousal (drive) in performance subjects.
The presence of audience will enhance the performance of a skilled individual while causing a decrement in the performance of an unskilled individual. From a sport psychology point of view, social facilitation was defined as "consequences upon behavior which derive from the sheer presence of other individuals"
Researchers tested this theory by focusing on the "sheer presence" of an audience with no interaction between the performers and the crowd.
*Note- Since this type of "non-hostile" interaction rarely occurs in athletics, the research concluded from testing this model in not easily applied to sport. Suffered Flaw from Zajonc's model It is widely known that home advantage exists in team sports such as basketball, baseball, ice hockey, football, and soccer and is well documented. Also, home country advantage exists related to the Olympics.
Few authors have argued that the home advantage could be due to factors other than the audience, such as jet lag, travel fatigue, sleeping conditions, changed eating habits, unfamiliarity with local conditions, and referee bias.
The most viable explanation for the home court advantage: the presence of a supportive and interactive audience. Effects of an Interactive Audience on Performance Does the audience energize the home team, or does it inhibit the performance of the visiting team? Why is There a Home Court Advantage? Investigation 1:
In 1980, Varca investigated collegiate men's basketball games played during the 1977-1978 season in the Southeastern conference. He tested the hypothesis that the home court advantage was attributable to more functional assertive play on the part of the home team and more dysfunctional assertive play on the part of the visiting team.
Increased arousal caused by the supportive crowd was believed to facilitate assertive play. Functional assertive behavior in basketball included superior performance in the skills of rebounding, steals, and blocked shots.
Dysfunction assertive behavior in basketball was limited to personal fouls, a behavior believed to inhibit performance. The home team enjoyed an advantage in functionally assertive skills such as stealing, blocking shots, and rebounding.
The visiting teams had significantly more fouls than the home teams.
Varca's research was very helpful in explaining why the presence of a roaring crowd could facilitate the home team's performance, but inhibit that of the visiting team. Silva and Andrew (1987) hypothesized that the advantage favoring the home team was due not to increased performance caused by a supportive audience, but to inferior performance on the part of the visiting team- sort of an away court disadvantage, as opposed to a home court advantage. Investigation 2: They recalled data from ACC games played from 1971 to 1981. Performance of players during actual competition was compared with a pre-game standard of good performance provided by coaches. Home teams did exhibit superior game statistics when compared to the visiting teams, but this occurred because the visiting teams exhibited game stats worse than expected rather than the home teams exhibiting game stats better than expected. Since the home court advantage is a function of fan support, it is important to capitalize on this advantage by filling the stadium or fieldhouse. Also the band, the cheering squad, and publicity should be used to generate excitement and enthusiasm. One way might be when the fans expect you to win at home; this can result in additional pressure to play well. Another reason might be playing before a very local and supportive audience can raise arousal to a level that results in a decrement of performance.
"Sometimes, playing at home in the postseason isn't an advantage. You get so caught up that you lose focus of what you have to do."
-Joe Torre, Former New York Yankees manager. When is the Home Court/Field a Disadvantage? Heightened self-attention, or self-awareness can plague home teams during important home games. Audience size is related to performance in baseball. The winning percentage of home teams increased as the size of the crowd increased.
Baseball and football normally accommodate a far greater number of fans than basketball and/or ice hockey, so factors such as audience density and audience intimacy may be more important than size for creating the home court advantage.
Audience density and audience intimacy are related to how tightly packed together the fans are and how close they are to the field of play.
*Successful teams that opt to move out of smaller, more intimate facilities into larger ones often do so at the expense of crowd density and intimacy. Crowd Size, Intimacy, and Density Crowd Hostility What is the effect of a seemingly hostile crowd on player performance Sustained hostile spectator protests have a clearly negative impact on the visiting team. Following episodes of sustained fan protest, the performance of athletes was monitored and the results showed slight improvements in the home team and pronounced declines in the visiting team The "Antlers" provide raucous and sometimes rowdy support for the home team The home team wins more often than the visiting team.
Winning percentage in basketball and ice hockey for the home team - 63 %
Winning percentage in football for the home team - 60 %
Winning percentage in baseball for the home team - 53 %
These statistics do not reveal the effect of team quality on home court advantage.
Winning at home occurs more often for high-quality teams than for low-quality teams.
The focus of teams should be upon execution and quality of play and not upon the crowd of the facility. Besides archival data, forty collegiate female basketball players were asked about their perceptions on the home court advantage. The athletes indicated that they believed there was a home court advantage in their league, and that about 61% of the games were won by the home team.
They also indicated that they felt that the home court familiarity and crowd support were the primary factors determining the home court advantage.
The athletes further indicated that they believed the travel considerations were of borderline importance, and that special "house rules" associated with the building they played in were of no consequence. Stephanie Cohen
Alex Vafinis University of South Carolina recently adopted
a tradition of playing "Sandstorm" at Williams-Brice Stadium before and during games. Imagine trying to call an audible while listening to this.... Why is this important for sports and for our profession?
- The sheer fact of having to play on the road changes your entire game plan, mindset, attitude, schedule, and skill level.
- Playing at home with two equally matched teams gives the upper hand to the home team.
- If the fans are not there, there would be nothing for the athlete to play for.
- Depending on the profession you choose determines how this "home-field advantage" comes into play. If you aspire to become a coach then this philosophy is something you will have to live by. If you become a physical therapist you will have to rehabilitate an injury from a player who played in a hostile environment. If you become a sport psychologist, you are going to have to talk and mentor athletes who deal with playing on the road and at home with heavy pressure on them.