Understanding the sport psychology of fans

This week we are going to look at the sport psychology of NFL fans. This is a bit different from past posts, as they have focused on the athlete themselves, but given NFL training camps are underway and the emotions many fans will feel over the upcoming season, I thought it would be fun to take a look at another side to sports psychology.

I remember in college taking this sport management class, and one of the topics we covered was the psychology of the fans within sports. There is this interesting statistic out there that when a team wins a game, the likely hood of the fans of that team wearing some form of clothing featuring the team increases dramatically. As a class we went into this big discussion as to why that might be. The obvious answer is the pride one feels for the accomplishment of the team, and taking it one step further, is the fact that a true fan feels a great sense of connection to there team, similar to one they feel with family and friends. When something happens to a family member or a close friend, we often feel those emotions with them, and the same can be true to a sports team.

One of the theories out there as to why this is goes back to our ancient roots of belonging to tribes. In the past our safety was determined by the success of our tribal warriors, now our tribe is usually a team, and while no longer about life and death, it is still in our DNA to feel closely connected to a “tribe” and their success or failure.

So how do you cope when your team losses, especially a close game on the biggest stage? Here are some tips to help you when your team loses.