Reading “Body Language” in Professional Athletes

By on October 21, 2012
Andy_Murray

Hey everybody ! Who needs forensic psychiatrists ? Forget about it !!! They are a thing of the past ! If you ever want to know what an individual or group of athletes are thinking, just ask a sports media member or a fan, and you can get all the information you need.

Have you ever heard so much crap in your life as this ? People with no background in psychology or psychiatry, are now telling their viewers and listeners whether or not an individual or group of athletes are mentally involved in the game, or if they even care about what they are doing.

How do they know what anyone is thinking, when looking at someone sitting on a bench ? Some people, myself included, are very superstitious when it comes to sports, so I might sit in a particular position, or place, because of that, and not due to how I feel about the nature of the game, or whatever might be happening at that moment in time.

Many fans and media who were watching the ALCS with the Yankees and Tigers, were offering their psychoanalysis of the Bronx Bombers, without any qualifications to do so, and convinced they know what the ”Pinstripers” are thinking about as they sit on bench with their team, or perhaps like “A-Rod”, sitting alone.

How the hell do any of these people know for sure what anyone is thinking at any point in time ? The very best coaches and managers, are those who never let you know what they are thinking. Could anyone ever tell by observing Scotty Bowman behind a bench, whether or not his team was winning or losing a game ? Not a chance !!! Bowman, Punch Imlach, Toe Blake, Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells, Joe Maddon, and anyone else you can name. They all convey an image of non-emotion, because they want their athletes to be calm and in control of their emotions when competing. Raw emotions are for fans to express during games. Too many fans and media members seem to have lost sight of this, or are totally unaware as to why many of the greatest coaches and managers in all sports, are very reserved in their body language and facial expressions, other than a few points in the game where one team or the other produces scoring points, and even then, some offer very brief revelation of visual expression.

Why is this point never brought up when analysts are offering their two-cents worth on this subject ? Probably because it is too easy to sit in judgement and offer a critical comment at a particular moment, as opposed to doing some research, and maybe asking the athletes themselves, if their non emotional behaviour really means anything, other than playing out what they learned from many intelligent coaches  along the way, who counselled them to never get too high or too low at any moment in time during a game, or at anytime through their professional careers.

Having an expert in body language and facial expressions, would actually be refreshing to listen to during a sporting event. But lets get the ones who are trained  professionally in this field, as opposed to those who are guessing, as evaluators of this overly analysed dimension of sports.

About Norman Rumack