As some of you may know, over the past year I have been completing a postgraduate degree in sports psychology in London.
As part of this I have been conducting research into Expert FIFA esports players and how they differ/are similar to expert football players, in terms of their perceptual-cognitive expertise (Anticipation, judgment, decision-making abilities). In this article, I will go over what we found and what it means!
- Three groups of people did my study (Expert FIFA, Expert Football and Control)
- Expert FIFA players were equally good at recognising FIFA and real-life Football patterns of play
- Expert Football were the same (Equally good at recognising FIFA and Football clips)
- This essentially means that by being an expert FIFA player you are developing mental skills that enable you to read a real-life football game at an expert level (even if you have never played football before).
- This also means that by training outside of FIFA by playing football you may develop beneficial mental abilities that enable you to play FIFA better
Essentially – my project looked at whether there was transfer in mental expertise between Expert FIFA and Expert Football players. We looked at pattern recognition which is known as an essential aspect to being able to anticipate and make judgements whilst playing a sport/game. Otherwise known as perceptual-cognitive expertise
So there were a total of 36 people who kindly participated in the study:
14 Expert FIFA players – Elite 2 and above + NO football experience above recreational
8 Expert Football Players – Top 8 tiers of British football / or equivalent + NO FIFA experience above Gold 3
12 Control – (No experience in either)
All three of these groups did the same test. Firstly, they were shown 30 (5-second) clips (patterns of play) that ended when a shot or key pass was made. This was the learning phase.
An example FIFA clip can be seen here:
After this they completed a questionnaire as to their experience in FIFA/Football and then shown a further 30 patterns of play. In the second set of 30 clips participants were asked, after every clip, to respond as to whether they’d seen it before or not in the first 30 clips. This was the recognition phase. This gave us an accuracy score out of 30 as to how well the patterns of play were remembered. This process was done twice both for FIFA and football clips. There is a photo of the process below!
Each participant had a score as to their recognition accuracy of FIFA and Football patterns of play. This score essentially gives us an idea as to the level of perceptual-cognitive expertise a participant has in the given sport (FIFA and Football). Or in other words – we had a score of how well someone can read the game (Both for FIFA and Football).
The data we collected showed similar scores on FIFA and Football clips for both Expert FIFA and Expert Football players. This was surprising as other similar research in volleyball, basketball etc. indicates that this perceptual-cognitive expertise is specific to the sport you are an expert in. Though our data indicates that between FIFA and Football players expertise is being transferred.
This essentially indicates that by playing FIFA at an elite level – without having any experience in real-life football – you can read a real-life football game at a fairly expert level. And vice-versa. Graphs illustrating this point can be seen below. (Scores are percentage decimals so that 0.8=80% correct)
Can see scores not differing much between Expert Football and Expert FIFA groups
Breakdown of average scores on the FIFA clips
Breakdown of average Football clips
This data does lack some power (Group numbers are low) so making firm conclusions about transference of expertise between FIFA and football is tough. However, it gives us some indication that perhaps playing FIFA has real-world benefits in terms of playing real-life football better. And that perhaps playing football once or twice a week will improve the mental side of your FIFA game. This super exciting when we think about diversifying training of FIFA and football players and the potential benefits of using the other.
For example, in Motorsport currently simulators are used for pro drivers to practice. They essentially are playing a super realistic video game to make sure when they get to the real circuit, in a real car they can perform better. Using this data – and hopefully more in the future – perhaps similar training strategies could be used in sports such as FIFA being used for football.
Finally, a huge thank you to everyone you helped me out this summer and gave up their time to participate! Without the support of the FIFA community none of this would have been possible. Hopefully such research into elite FIFA players will continue as esports grows both in FIFA and in other games!
Any questions as always I am more than happy to answer!
Andy – FutPsychologist
Source: Original link
© Post "I researched FIFA esports for my Postgraduate dissertation and this is what I found!" for game FIFA 19.
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