Israel's national youth soccer team (Photo: Asi Kipper, Israel Football Association ) (Photo: Asi Kipper, Israel Football Association )
Israel's national youth soccer team

Ben-Gurion University scientists say the findings could be applied to other industries, including marketing, political lobbying and R&D.

By Yulia Karra, ISRAEL21c

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers recently discovered that teammates’ efforts in sports correlate with each other and have a direct impact on individual performances.

The research team analyzed professional soccer leagues across Israel in 2017 and 2018 to measure how teammates’ efforts affect each other during the initial introduction on the field.

The researchers found that elevated peer effort positively affects individual effort, whereas a fatigued player on the team can potentially lower the energy of his colleagues.

Among the aspects that were analyzed were players’ running distance, number of sprints and player substitutions throughout every game. The researchers were able to prove that each player’s running distance in a specific section of the game changes when he plays with teammates who typically exert more effort.

In addition, the study was able to prove that if a fatigued player is substituted, the incoming player’s first five minutes on the field has a significant impact in overall team effort due to the fresh flow of energy.

The researchers believe the findings could be applied to other industries, such as R&D, court litigation, political lobbying groups and marketing divisions. These groups are also characterized by high levels of collaborative and professional effort in a competitive environment.

The research was led by Naomi Gershoni and Prof. Danny Cohen-Zada from the Department of Economics at Ben-Gurion University, as well as former master’s student Itai Dayag.

The findings were published recently in the Management Science journal.

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