Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sports Psychology - Dress For Success!

Sports scientists at the University of Portsmouth studied the effect a coach's appearance had on the players' impressions of their competence. Their work is published in the International Journal of Sport Psychology.

The new study led by Dr Richard Thelwell, a sports scientist at the University of Portsmouth revealed that coaches who wear suits on match days and tracksuits on training days are likelier to get the best results out of their teams.

Dr Thelwell said: "We have found that the clothing that coaches wear can have a direct effect on the players’ perceptions of the coach’s ability.
"Players look to their coach to provide technical skills, to motivate them and to lead them. A coach in a suit suggests strategic prowess which is obviously ideal for a match," he added.

"In our study, coaches wearing a suit were perceived as being more strategically competent than those wearing sporting attire. However, when wearing sporting attire, they were perceived to be more technically competent than those in a suit."

97 men and women were asked to observe and give their reactions to static photographs of four different 'coaches,' as though they had just viewed the coach for the first time and were about to be coached by them.

The four categories were as follows: a coach of lean physique and dressed in a tracksuit, a coach of large physique and dressed in a tracksuit, one of lean physique and dressed in a suit, and finally a coach of large physique and dressed in a suit.

Coaches of large build and wearing smart clothes was uniformly ranked the lowest in terms of their competence to motivate, develop technique, develop game strategy, and build athlete character.

The coach who was lean and wearing a tracksuit was rated best for 'technical and character-building abilities,' which were skills most required at training and development of players, and was rated equal best for 'ability to motivate players.'

The coach who was lean and smartly dressed was rated best as a strategist, the skill most expected and required at matches."

"First impressions can have a powerful and long-lasting effect, no matter how quickly those judgments were made," Thelwell said.

"From the research, we know that sportsmen and women make snap decisions about their opponents based on first impressions. Such impressions then often influence the expectations of the performance outcome that ultimately results in success or failure."

"In coaching it is vital a strong rapport develops between the coach and the athlete. To date, very little research has been done on what happens in those first few moments, and more importantly whether the athlete is prepared to go along with the ideals of the coach."

"While we are becoming more aware of how athletes might judge coaches, we are still unaware of the processes that athletes go through to be able to develop impressions of coaches and this is something that we are now starting to look at."

José Mourinio takes a training session.

José Mourinio in smart attire on matchday.

Article courtesy of the University of Portsmouth © 2010
Tel: 023 9284 8484 Email: info.centre@port.ac.uk
University House, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO1 2UP, UK.

1 comment:

Chris said...

This is interesting....my brother is a teacher and he scoffs at the idea of "dressing down" on Fridays for a similar reason. He feels it gives the kids the impression that it is not as important to do work and stay motivated as other days. Although he doesn't often, he will dress more down on a Tuesday or Wednesday, when kids aren't expecting it and while the week is still young.