Team Psychology in Sports: Theory and Practice

By Stewart Cotterill | Go to book overview

9
MOMENTUM IN SPORT

Introduction

Both performers and observers often cite the phenomenon of momentum as a factor that impacts upon performance. It is typically conceived of as being both an unpredictable and supernatural force outside the control of individuals and teams, which often dictates the outcomes of competition (Taylor and Demick, 1994). This phenomenon of momentum is referred to at numerous levels for individual and team sports both within individual games and across multiple games (Vergin, 2000). Team sports invariably have an ebb and a flow, with often one team and then another in the ascendancy. The periods of good fortune, though, seem to differ in their duration and their frequency (Vergin, 2000). The gaining of momentum is usually thought of as a factor that can enhance performance, while the loss of momentum can be said to have the reverse effect (Perreault et al., 1998). Although this phenomenon is well established in the minds of participants and spectators, research exploring momentum has been relatively inconclusive, with distinctions between momentum and psychological momentum being made. Understanding the influence that momentum can have on cognitions and subsequent performance could be beneficial to sports teams. Once the coach is aware of how changes in momentum impact upon the team’s cognitions, then steps can be taken to enhance the potential benefits and reduce any negative impacts (Mack and Stephens, 2000). This chapter will explore the theoretical basis for momentum and seek to explore trigger events for momentum shifts. Finally, the chapter will explore intervention strategies for influencing momentum and momentum shifts in team sports.


What is momentum?

A number of definitions have been suggested to explain this phenomenon of momentum. Higham et al. (2005) suggested that momentum is:

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Team Psychology in Sports: Theory and Practice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures viii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface x
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • 1- Introduction 1
  • 2- Team Planning and Effectiveness 8
  • 3- Developing a Positive Team Environment 22
  • 4- Role Clarity and Role Acceptance 36
  • 5- Developing Effective Team Communication 48
  • 6- Cohesion in Sport 65
  • 7- Motivating the Team 78
  • 8- Managing Emotions in Team Sports 92
  • 9- Momentum in Sport 106
  • 10- Effective Team Leadership 120
  • 11- Mental and Emotional Recovery 133
  • Reference 146
  • Index 166
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