The Psychology of TES

By Swap Mushiana, Doctor of Psychology, USF 2019

Critical reflection is essential for development and understanding of complex situational sports such as soccer. This app allows players to examine the dynamics of the game. The interconnected dynamics such as a player’s position, technical skills, situational understanding, competitiveness, and focus are difficult to quantify.

Many coaches use a rank or number system to assign value(s) to the skillset of a particular player. Unfortunately, once a coach ascribes numerical values to aspects of a player’s game, the player (and parents) are then left to interpret those values and hopefully work on areas of improvement.Using that system, there is no clear basis/understanding between the perspectives of the coach and the players.

With TES, however, users bridge that gap by eliciting feedback from both coaches and players that drives collaboration aimed at player development. The app creates a shared space for dialogue around the “numbers.” Yes the numbers are important, but they can be viewed as points of initiation for the player to begin to think and discuss their skill set, attributes, and performance. Also, the value of the integrated TES rubric, with its definitions of criteria and the associated ratings is a significant improvement on what exists today.

Here are some key areas that I believe help make this product effective:

There is an inherent power structure that exists between a player and her/his coach. The “double-blind” method of ranking whereby the player and coach are not influenced by the others ranking is an excellent feature of this app. It diminishes the biases that may exist otherwise. The player feels psychologically safe, or is able to honestly express their experience without fear of retribution from their evaluator, or coach. Furthermore, depending on how attuned the coach is to the player, the discrepancies in the rank/numbers between the players self-reporting and coach’s evaluation will lead to further exploration and dialogue.

This app helps players and coaches put meaning to numbers. The apps uses subjective numbers/ranking to initiate a dialogue between players, coaches, and parents. By breaking down player performance into segments that are juxtaposed against the ranking of the opponent is a fantastic feature of the app. The numbers alone cannot tell the whole story. The numbers/rankings of a player’s performance within context* helps build a player’s understanding of the game. The player is invited to view their individual performance situated within the team’s performance against a particular opposition. This dialectical understanding of the game is an extremely advanced aspect of this app.

This app is a fantastic method to foster an ownership of a young athlete’s development. The coaches who use this app as a facilitation tool for players to leverage aspects of their psycho-physio performance will undoubtedly see results. There is a ‘tech-trail” of soccer milestones where players can track their progress. This clearly builds confidence, positivity, motivation, and increases the desire for mastery of skills.

This a great educational tool for parents, players and coaches.
The medium of perspective sharing validates all parties involved.
The parents are able to understand the unique soccer lens, style, and approach that each coach possesses.
Equipped with this information, parents are now brought into the fold as part of the mentorship team that encompasses the primary focus, the Player.

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