After looking into how successful sportsmen perceive their game, they found that a tactic of super-sizing the target worked well as a psychological boost in pressure situations.
More after the break
In studies carried out at Purdue University and the Max Planck Institute-Tubingen in Germany, sports scientists Jessica Witt and Sally Linkenauger asked golfers to take part in two different experiments.
In the second one, they used a projector to shine circles around the hole to give the perception it was bigger.
When the players perceived the target as being larger, they immediately improved their ability to hit the target by 10 per cent. “In a professional sport setting that could make a huge difference,” says Witt.
So could ‘thinking big’ really improve a striker’s tally? “We have no reason to believe that the kinds of effects found with putting wouldn’t generalise to all sports, including soccer,” Witt tells FFT.
“When players are playing well, they perceive the goal to look bigger. We would fully expect that a soccer goal that was made to look bigger would lead to more successful shooting than a soccer goal that was made to look smaller,” adds Witt.