US College Basketball

Enhancing Performance in Sports Teams with ProMES

ProMES was applied for the first time in the athletic arena using a division I collegiate women’s basketball team.

ProMES was carried out during the Seasons 2008/2009 and 2009/2010

The coaches of sports teams have very similar roles to that of managers; they must motivate, train, and provide feedback to their workers (players). The players must engage in extended and frequent practices as well as long games which require intense amounts of motivation for ideal performance. The application of ProMES in sports could lead to a better understanding of motivation because behavior can be observed and measured more effectively than in most work settings. For example, video analysis of behavior is already common in sports.

Sports teams have knowledge intensive tasks: Each player can be regarded as an expert on his or her position. The main task of the coaches is to motivate the players to share this knowledge and work in a coordinated fashion to maximize performance. ProMES helps to clarify priorities, goals and roles in work teams. Clarity is crucial for the development of a competitive sports team. The need for accurate performance measures, high levels of motivation and feedback throughout a sports season contribute to the idea that ProMES would be very applicable in the sports arena. The study was conducted with a Division I women’s college basketball team during the 2008/2009 and the 2009/2010 season. Participants included four coaches and eleven players. Typical ProMES system design teams consist of five to eight team members. With more than eight members the development process is slowed down, so a rotating design team was used in an effort to include all players and coaches in the process. Although a rotating design team is not typical, by involving all players and coaches, perceptions of procedural justice and voice will be enhanced. Following each facilitation meeting, two players were chosen by coaches and were responsible for relaying meeting information to the rest of the team. The design team developed a measurement system for the team as a whole and subsystems for different positions using the same objectives and indicators. When necessary, new objectives and indicators were added for certain positions. This allows for team feedback reports as well as personal feedback reports for individual players, which is the most effective combination of feedback in team sports. Because all of the games are recorded, video analysis with examples of performance could be used as part of the feedback process.

Eight Objectives and nineteen Indicators

ProMES was successfully implemented in eight sessions averaging 2 hours of group discussion.

Eight total objectives were defined which were sorted into four broad objective classes: 1) defense, 2) rebounding, 3) offense, and 4) hustle plays. Example objectives include “Improve defensive rebounding” and “Improve positioning”. After objectives were agreed upon, the research team facilitated three brainstorming sessions to develop indicators totaling six hours. The brainstorming sessions focused on one objective at a time until the design team agreed that the indicators fully encompassed the objective. Again, players and coaches brainstormed as pairs and used note cards to document how the objective will be measured. The “indicator” cards were clustered and labeled thematically. At the beginning of each subsequent session the research team summarized the previous meeting to ensure understanding, completeness and accuracy of the indicators. Example indicators for the objective “Improve defensive rebounding” include “Percentage of attempts to remove space” which is an indicator that measures both individual and team performance and “Percentage of rebounds chinned” which measures individual performance.

Productivity Improvement, Outcome Improvement and A Title

Performance improved from baseline to feedback periods and decreased when feedback was removed.

Both effect sizes can be considered large. Outcome Measures were compared with effectiveness scores. The results show that during the feedback period both offensive and defensive outcomes improved. Qualitiative interviews at the end of the season showed support from players and coaches. ProMES was mentioned in each player interview as part of their explanation for enhanced performance. Each of the players believe that ProMES would be an effective instrument in professional basketball. And not only that: For the first time in the history of the program the team could win the conference USA title and qualified for the NCAA finals in 2009!

Sports Psychometrics is bringing ProMES into Professional Sports - Supported By the Federal Government of Germany

ProMES can be successfully implemented in sports. That's why Colin Roth joined with the two psychologists Nina Beer and Jan Beer to bring ProMES into the sports market.

The three won the German Founding Award 'EXIST-Gründerstipendium' in the year 2012/2013. With that support they are now able to concentrate on the sports market. If you're interested in their work please feel free to contact the team:

Dr. Colin Roth
Sports Psychometrics
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Lange Gasse 20
90403 Nuremberg, Germany

Tel +49 911 2153772-0
Fax +49 911 2153772-1

Literature on the Case Study

Roth, C., Young, B.L., Schmerling, D., Koenig, N. & Pritchard, R.D. (2010). Enhancing Performance in Sports Teams with ProMES. Atlanta: SIOP Conference 2010.