The Science of Winning: Does success really breed success?

Posted on: March 6th, 2020 | by Laura Murdoch | No Comments

Last Updated on: 11th September 2023, 01:12 pm

Football is a competitive sport and winning is always going to be a huge motivation. Whether you’re playing for your team or watching your favourite players battle it out on the pitch, everyone can share in the glory. Trophies are a big part of a player’s motivation. Winning one is a momentous occasion and is a great thing to look back on as you progress in the game.

Rewarding a good result, a team’s or individual’s performance, or a recognisable improvement with a trophy is a great way to build a player’s confidence, make them feel appreciated, and push them into further improvements. Regularly recognising the efforts that your players have made helps to build a positive learning environment to further help growth. Setting a player or team goals at the start of a season is a great way to get them focusing on their game and a trophy or medal is a great physical reminder of their development.

Football Trophy

What motivates a player?

Two major factors motivate people to participate in sport.

  • Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsically motivated people will make decisions for internal reasons. These are the people who play football simply because they enjoy it and want to get better at it. Players tend to focus on improving their skills and enjoying themselves.

  • Extrinsic Motivation

Extrinsically motivated people will make decisions for external reasons. This type of motivation can be split into social sources and material rewards. So, you might have children who play because their parents want them to or because they want to win some kind of recognition for their performance. Players tend to focus on competition and performance.

Extrinsically motivating your team

Football trophies and medals speak to a player’s extrinsic motivation. Football is always going to have a competitive element and rewards are a central part of it. When used correctly, extrinsic rewards can be very beneficial to a player. The promise of a trophy and the feeling of winning can push a player into getting better at the game.

However, the act of rewarding a player or sports team can have a negative impact when it ignores their intrinsic motivation. Being competitive and wanting to win is a great thing for players but they need to remember what they enjoy about the game. A desire to win could easily take the focus away from development and skills.

The Winner Effect

According to Ian Robertson of Trinity College, Dublin, “winning’s probably the single most important thing in shaping people’s lives.” Robertson argues that the reason winning is so enjoyable is mostly down to the chemicals in your body. “Winning increases testosterone, which in turn increases the chemical messenger dopamine, and that dopamine hits the reward network in the brain, which makes us feel better.”

There is even research that suggests winning once will increase the likelihood that you’ll do it again. It all relates to how animals act in the wild. Testosterone levels rise when the animal faces-off against another, which produces anabolic effects on muscle mass and haemoglobin. This quickens their reactions, improves their vision, and increases its persistence and fearlessness.  Once the fight is over, the winning animal walks away with even higher levels of testosterone whilst the loser leaves with lower levels. The winner is, therefore, given an edge that will increase its chance of winning.

Football Trophy winner

Does winning improve your chances next time?

So, it’s a phenomenon that certainly has an impact in the animal world but does winning help humans in the same way? There is certainly evidence that suggests it does. A study examined a database of 630,000 professional tennis matches and found that the winner of the first set had a 60% chance of winning the second.

According to John Coates, this is all down to the increase in testosterone after a win. Winning alters your body’s chemistry and leaves you at a better advantage next time. Player’s will also be experiencing an increase in confidence and desire to hang onto the positive feelings associated with success. Maybe that’s why the clubs with the most football trophies are the ones that continue to win? Looking at the science alone, it would seem that success does, in fact, breed success.

Pendle Football Trophies

So, the science would suggest that winning is the best way to give your players the best advantage in the future. Football trophies are a great way to combine these changes in chemistry with extrinsic motivation. Players can experience a win and find something to push to aim for next season. Winning a trophy will quite possibly give them an advantage for their next game and push them further in their training. Especially if you award trophies based on specific skills.

Thankfully, Pendle has just released a new range of football trophies for 2020. We now offer an even larger range of trophies, cups, and medals that are suitable for various occasions. You’ll be able to find the perfect awards to give out to your players that will set them up for future victory. And the best news? They all come at amazing prices. Our football medals start from as low as £0.69 and football trophies can be purchase for just £1.99. What’s stopping you? Check our range of Football Trophies now.

Pendle Football Trophies


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