Shooting yourself in the foot: How anger and aggression aimed at sports officials impacts upon perfo

This weekend has seen an unprecedented step taken by amateur football referees in the UK. 18-year old local football referee Ryan Hampsen has led the ‘striking’ of over 2000 local league referees in response to the foul and abusive behaviour they are often exposed to on a weekly basis. This has been further compounded by the high profile case of Leandro Bacuna. The Aston Villa utility player was sent off in last week’s game against Derby County for pushing the linesman follow

Nature or nurture: the art of team captaincy

Across many professional sports the importance of leadership within teams is broadly acknowledged. Indeed, many teams appoint formal leaders such as captains to help provide this leadership within the team. However, while this is the case there is a lot less clarity regarding what role(s) these captains should be undertaking. Part of the challenge here is the different nature of the captaincy position in different sports. In a sport such as cricket the captain is a key member

Decision-making training in sport

Performance in sport is characterised by the ability to make the right decisions under pressure. Indeed, if you consider sports currently in the headlines with the FIFA 2014 Football World cup in Brazil, the All England Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, and the recent Cricket Test Match Series between England and Sri Lanka effective decision-making in all three is key. However, historically the notion of the ‘right’ decision has not been well articulated. In the UK in partic

Decision-making and England’s impending exit from the World Cup

Following the England football teams (it appears) early exit from the FIFA2014 World Cup in Brazil after their 2-1 defeat to Uruguay; the usual inquest is taking place. Already the media are questioning the commitment of the players, and in some quarters even asking for the manager to be relieved of his duties. But what is the reason why England appear to be on their way out of the tournament? In the two games so far England have played well in parts and contributed significa

Success, Attribution and decision-making

I have watched the events of the last few days in sport play out with some interest. In particular Laura Robson’s fantastic victory against Venus Williams in the first round of the WTA event in Rome 6-3, 6-2; the sacking of Roberto Mancini by Manchester City Football club, and Tiger Woods latest tournament victory. With Robson the thing that struck me was that while she talked about how she had played in the post-match interviews it seemed to be more about the reasons why Ve

Sport psychology, confidence tricks and the dark arts

I read with interest the comments of Paulo Di Canio, the head coach/manager of Sunderland football club in the English Premier League at the weekend. Di Canio is quoted as saying that he knows all he needs to know about getting inside players minds. He also stated that he was not going as far as saying that sport psychologists should not work in football, although I think there was a big ‘but’ behind that statement that spoke volumes. I am not sure if this speaks of an insec

Integrity in Sport: Is honesty the best policy?

I watched with interest the various English Football Association (FA) cup games that took place over the weekend. In particular the Mansfield Town FC Vs Liverpool FC game. For those of you who might not be aware of the result, Liverpool won the game 2-1. The second (and as it turns out decisive) Liverpool goal though was mired in controversy. The infamous Liverpool Striker Luis Suarez clearly handled the ball (which is against the rules) on route to scoring the ultimately dec

Psychological demands of squad rotation

Increasingly in professional sport teams are looking to put together larger squads of players in an attempt to maintain higher levels of performance over the duration of long competitive seasons, often whilst competing in a number of tournaments. But, while there is a strong rationale for this from a physical perspective, it is questionable as to whether the psychological connotations have been fully considered. For example last night Manchester City Football club (the curren

The FAs National Football Centre: Value for money or a waste of money?

After over a decade of planning and preparation the English Football Association’s £120 million National Football Centre has opened at St George’s Park near Burton-on -Trent in the East Midlands.  This development has been seen for a number of years as the missing link in the development of a successful England football team. For years the FA has looked enviously at the National centres in France, Spain and the Netherlands, thinking that one of the reasons for the lack of suc