The term behavioral science can refer to multiple scientific subjects such as behavioral design or nudging, which, generally seen, treat the issue of changing the behavior of people through the environment.
An example of this can be the yellow lines in the train stations, which are to prevent people from standing too close to the running trains. Actually, nothing is preventing people from standing on the other side of the line. But alone the existence of these lines is affecting people to a specific behavior.
Behavioral science is a huge scientific field, and many more words could be written about this topic. In this regard the key takeaway message is: People’s behavior gets affected by their surroundings. The visual input (for example lines) is unconsciously making people change their behavior. The reason to this is simply that the human brain naturally prefers as little cognitive effort as possible. Therefore, we often do, what the environment invite us to.
Does this apply in football as well? Our assertation: Yes, it does.
Behavioral science in football
Knowing that behavior is affected by visual input, some actions in football are easier explained. For example, the penalty box is often used as a visual marker for a defending team. Also, the penalty box (or just outside of it) is often the visual trigger for the strikers to shoot.
Therefore, communication of information to football players can with advantage be based on the visual elements on the pitch, namely the chalk lines. The opponents, the teammates and the coaches can change. The lines are the only constant in the equation of football.
“The pitch” is TSA/Professional’s visual representation of a full seize football pitch. This model is divided into 160 cells. However, the construction of these 160 cells is not random. All the actual lines and spots of a football pitch have been extended to cover the entire length or width of the pitch (depending on the natural direction of the line). Furthermore, a line has been added to mark the last third and the last quarter of the pitch on each half.
We use this model of the pitch to visualize data to the player. For an example of this, see the next blog post Shot location.