A number of external factors warp our memories and hurt objectivity. Video snaps our brains back to reality.
Imagine a game or match as a puzzle. Each moment is one small piece of what eventually creates the entire contest.
What if that puzzle were missing pieces, or pieces from another puzzle were included? Trying to create the end result wouldn’t just be incredibly frustrating, it’d be impossible.
But that’s how the human mind works. Our brains are physically incapable of accurately creating objective memories. Biases, previous experiences, our mood and other external influences mold our recollection of past events into an experience we believe to be the truth… but it’s not.
This is known as the misinformation effect. Our memories run the risk of being tainted when fed false information. These fabrications blend with what we really experienced, creating a warped version of the truth. Brett Woods, a sports psychologist at the University of Nebraska, said hypotheses developed before or during games affect how we view them in the moment and remember them later.
“Our emotions can sometimes override our prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for evaluating performances, more of the logistics of evaluation,” Woods said. “That can color your perception of the event and your memory, your recall is more shaded by your emotional evaluation of the performance rather than the actual event that took place.”
Our memories are also influenced by what others recall. Even if you were about to perfectly recall a game or match, the comments made by your athletes, spectators, officials and fellow coaches shift reality. Our memories are not recordings, and factors such as stress, time and others’ opinions shift how we remember an event.
Thankfully, video snaps us back to reality. Rewatching a game or practice gives a completely subjective view of what actually transpired, not what we think happened. There’s a reason, “the tape doesn’t lie” has become such a common sentiment among coaches.
Video also provides a second angle to view the game from. A play may have appeared one way from the sidelines, but a different angle could show something completely different.
“Football is an emotional game,” Mikey Harris, the development coach at the Portsmouth Academy in England, said. “Quite often the result, certainly at the first-team level, can impact your emotions, which can then cloud your interpretation of what’s happened, and then you can end up saying something that might be inaccurate. I think that really utilising the match analysis aspect of it. Taking that time to cool down after the game whether you’ve won or lost can make the difference.”
Coaches obviously aren’t the only ones who suffer from the misinformation effect. Players’ memories could cause them to bristle at instruction from a coach, but video eliminates those arguments. It can also remind struggling athletes of their best moments, boosting confidence.
“Players can objectively see their performances,” Jose Manuel Figueira, the head coach of Team Wellington FC, said. “Right after the game, players may think they played well or not so good, but the video represents a true reflection of their performance. It’s really valuable for the players to put into context their own performance.”
When our brains fail us and modify our memories, video restores an objective view. Combat the misinformation effect with video.