In an article by the LA Times, a sports psychologist identified that crowds could improve athletic performance if the sport included strength, endurance, and teamwork. Most teams understand the impact fans have on performance. Playing in a home stadium or arena has always been viewed as an added advantage. But what we want to understand more is if engaging fans – by elevating the game day experience – advances performance even further. In other words, do athletes benefit even more from an elevated experience? 

Before diving in, we must scientifically understand the connection between fans and athletes. In a study by psychologists Robert B. Zajonc and Stephen M. Sales, published in an academic article, Social Facilitation of Dominant and Subordinate Responses, the psychologists explored what is known as the “audience effect.” This effect is where the presence of an audience produces adrenaline. In return, the body reacts by reverting to dominant responses or habits. When you think about it, that makes sense. Athletes must practice daily to see progress when under pressure in front of an audience on game day.  However, if not adequately prepared, athletes can also experience adverse side effects from the adrenaline. 

Depending on the magnitude and the athlete's personality, the side effects of adrenaline can cause athletes to stumble. We can see this play out in one of our favorite sports movies, Invincible, when Vince Papale takes the field for the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. Immediately he is overstimulated with adrenaline and nerves; because of it, he isn’t aware of his surroundings and gets sacked. Players who struggle with anxiety and nervousness need time to adapt to large crowds. So, how can we simulate the same game experience to allow for the adaptation of those players? One solution is to essentially have a dress rehearsal. Spring game scrimmages for collegiate athletes showcase players and act as a practice round before the season opener.

Spring games also offer the production team a chance to practice. If you can’t have your entire staff present, you’ll be shocked at how much the ScoreVision system can do with only two people. Consider it an opportunity to test content and other influential facets of game day production. From there, you can make adjustments to modify how fans infuse the game with energy and, in return, create a more exciting atmosphere. 

For those of you who are at the high school level, you’re probably wondering what this all has to do with you. After all, most of you can’t host spring games. So, how do we create a dry run at the high school level? You can still utilize your ScoreVision system to rehearse during practice. The beauty of simple, user-friendly software is that it only takes two people to operate it. But, the other option we want to propose requires you to shift your way of thinking. If one of the reasons we offer athletics in high schools is to prepare athletes for the next level, then maybe we need to consider the season in its entirety to be a “dry-run.”

With that in mind, creating a college game-day atmosphere for your high school athletes is important and borderline critical. Athletes must experience the same adrenolytic release under pressure to perform at the next level. Doing so allows them to potentially speed up the adaptation process. 

The problem is that most high school athletic programs do not have the same resources and equipment to produce these extensive game day experiences. College athletic programs have entire departments catered to creating productions that energize fans in attendance and boost performance. High schools simply do not have the time or budget to replicate the same experience level. That is, until recently. 

The conception of ScoreVision in 2015 was quite frankly revolutionary in the sports industry. When we looked deeper into the offerings for teams at multiple levels, we realized there was a sufficient gap in the ability to create transformative experiences at any level of sports below that of a college. Thus, our easy-to-use, affordable software was born. High school athletes can thrive with the same energy as college and professional sports teams. After we rolled out the first few releases, news spread like wildfire, and many mundane scoreboard companies caught on. Honestly, we didn’t mind because we genuinely care more about the mission and purpose behind our software development. With ScoreVision, you can energize fans without hiring an entire department and it has proven successful for teams across the nation. 

Today, our software offers more than just an in-venue experience. Upon the feedback we received from many of our customers, we expanded our offerings to include apps for score updates, live streams, and captured highlights. We’ve even developed software for football coaches to use to facilitate practice. The development of our products is rooted in research outside of software. We strive to understand your needs so we can better serve your community and your athletes. That is why we recognize the importance of creating environments for athletes to succeed. More specifically, we recognize the role an experience can play in the development of your athletes. At ScoreVision, we believe when you experience the game, you power the athlete. 


LA Times: For Athletes' the Crowd Roar is Double-Edged


Social Facilitation of Dominant and Subordinate Responses