Coaches’ and Elite Team Players’ Perception and Experiencing of Collective Collapse (pp. 57-74 )
Authors: Erwin Apitzsch
Abstract: The phenomenon of collective collapse in team sports, conceived in terms of negative psychological momentum when the players on a team suddenly perform below the expected level despite having had a good start, was investigated in two studies. One of them involved four male coaches of different sports, all at the elite level, and the other involved nine male players from a handball team, likewise at the elite level. Semi-structured interviews were employed in both cases. The major causes of collective collapse were found to be inappropriate behavior, failure of the role system to function properly, negative communication within the team, a change in the tactics of the opposing team, and goals being scored by that team. Factors seen as needing to be dealt with to prevent collective collapse included negative thinking, negative emotions, and negative emotional contagion. The studies provide a team perspective on negative psychological momentum as well as tentative proposals for avoiding collective collapse.