Social Facilitation & The New Sporting Landscape

Since covid, we have witnessed some drastic changes in how things are done.

The area of sport is one of interest, as the dynamics of many sporting events have changed as a result of these restrictions.

When the NRL first kicked off this year, there were no crowds in the stand. I enjoyed this because with the absence of a noisy crowd, you were able to hear the impact of the bodies on the field. There were so many hard knocks that shook me through the tv, and I thought this new set up was great.

Then, I began to learn more about things like sports and social psychology. An interesting topic we touched on is referred to as ‘social facilitation’, which states that the presence of people enhances ones performance when that person is good at a particular skill.

It’s not clear just how much of an impact that the absence of a crowd has on professional athletes performance, however going off the principle of social facilitation, this absence of crowds may play a negative role in athletic performance.

I haven’t watched many other sports besides the rugby league, and although I did not notice a drop in performance by the footy stars when there were no crowds, it makes me wonder what the players have to say about it in terms of their own psychology; their motivations, their drive, their passion, their focus.

Either way, I think it’s safe to say that the absence of a crowd is unideal for any sport. For the sake of sporting fans, the business side of sport and the motivation of the athletes who are competing, there is nothing like a good old crowd making noise in support.

I recall playing a season of footy when I was 19 years old, and there was nothing like running on to the field at a home game and hearing the noise of the supporters cheer you on. The adrenaline rush it gave you was enough to make you step on to that field motivated to gift your supporters with a win.