Simon Granér is a PhD candidate in the project: Collective Collapse in Team Sports and teaches sport psychology and marketing psychology at the Department of Psychology, Lund University.
What happens when a sports team suddenly looses a comfortable lead and ends up loosing the game? Most team sport athletes would recognise the situation, but can seldom give a good answer to why this happens. This phenomenon is called collective collapse.
The thesis includes three studies
Study 1: The experience of a Collective Collapse
To answer the question what a collective collapse is and how it is experienced, interviews were conducted with basketball players and coaches. Based on the reported cognitions, emotions and behaviours the collective collapse phenomenon could be described.
The first study led to a number of theoretical assumptions, such as the existence of behavioural contagion and the influence of role structure, which have been tested empirically in study 2 and will be tested in study 3.
Study 2: Experimental investigation into behavioural contagion
To start off, a simulated individual collapse influence other basketball player’s performance was tested experimentally, i.e. behavioural contagion. Basketball players were to shoot in groups of three using one basketball goal. What two of the players did not know was that the third missed almost all shots on purpose. The purpose was to find out if these two players would perform worse in the presence of an underachieving team mate. Results show that they did not, they performed in the exact same way as they did without an underperforming team mate. They did, however, experience that they performed worse.
Study 3: Contagious effect on performance in basketball
What if performance is contagious in basketball teams, during games? That would in part explain the outcome of games and be a possible explanation to the collective collapse phenomenon. In order to investigate the possible contagious effect of performance among team mates in basketball teams, an interaclass correlational design was conducted on archival data. An effect was found in this study, indicating that team mates do influence each other in their performance.