03-20-2002, 04:37 AM #1
Testosterone and the "home field advantage"
Hmmm.........so if you are using steroids , you always have the home field advantage? We are just animals, after all.
Testosterone Secret to Home Team Advantage
By Pat Hagan
03/18/2002 — LONDON (Reuters) - A pre-match surge in levels of the hormone testosterone could explain why football teams playing on their home ground are more likely to win, new research suggests.
An experiment involving professional football players in the UK showed a 50% rise in testosterone levels before a home game, but no real change before playing at another team's ground or prior to a training session.
Researchers from the University of Northumbria said the findings probably reflect a primeval urge to defend home territory against enemy attackers. An increase in testosterone is associated with aggression, confidence and dominance.
"There have been lots of studies showing that in men's sport, winners see a big boost in testosterone, while in losers it stays level or drops," Dr. Nick Neave, a biological psychologist at the University of Northumbria, said in an interview with Reuters Health. "So we were interested to see if it was related to home advantage in football players.
"When animals defend their home territory they fight hard and are more likely to win—even if they are smaller than their enemy."
Many explanations have been put forward for the home advantage in football--known as soccer in the US—including more vocal crowd support, referee bias and familiarity with the venue.
But the latest findings, presented at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society in Blackpool, could provide an alternative biological explanation.
Researchers took saliva samples from players in an English Premier League club's under-19 squad before two home matches, two away matches and two training sessions.
Before the away game and the training session, average testosterone levels were around 100 picogrammes per millilitre (pg/mL).
But before a home game against a major rival team, they jumped to around 150 pg/mL.
Neave added, "What was really interesting was that, when we looked at the positions of the players, the goalkeeper during training had some of the lowest levels of testosterone . But for home games their levels were much bigger because they are actually defending their territory—they are the last line of defence."
But he stressed it remains unclear whether higher levels of the hormone can actually improve physical performance, or whether the effects are due to increased stamina and determination.
"Testosterone does have affects on the brain related to spatial ability. And in football, awareness of where a moving object is is very important."
03-20-2002, 04:49 AM #2
Very interesting article, and one that makes a great deal of sense. I would love to see a more thourogh study and see if there is more than just a theory with this.
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