Tennis: Losers move their heads more often than winners

June 29, 2020

A new study by the Section Neurology, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychiatry of the Institute of Movement Therapy and Movement-oriented Prevention and Rehabilitation at the German Sport University Cologne, has now found that, contrary to previous assumptions, losers express themselves nonverbally more strongly than winners. "Losers make more spontaneous nonverbal head movements after losing points in tennis than after winning points. They carry out nonverbal head-shaking movements upwards as well as side-to-side," explains scientist Dr. Ingo Helmich.

17 professional male tennis players (average age: 28.1 years) were analysed on five official match days of the first 2018 season of the German Tennis Bundesliga. The players' entire spontaneous nonverbal head movement behaviour between point- scoring was video-taped during the competition and analysed by two trained and certified evaluators using the NEUROpsychological GESture(NEUROGES) Systems, a standardised analysis system for nonverbal behaviour, in relation to gained or lost points.

"For the first time, these results present a clear picture of nonverbal head movements of winners and losers in sport", says Dr. Helmich. The analysis of nonverbal movement behaviour relating to emotions is relevant to better understand and possibly improve an athlete's performance during a competition.
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The complete publication can be found here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1747954120934598

Contact: Dr. Ingo Helmich

Institute of Movement Therapy and Movement-oriented Prevention and Rehabilitation

i.helmich@dshs-koeln.de - +49(0)221 4982-7290

German Sport University

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