I have been fortunate in recent weeks to spend some time in the dressing room and tunnel area both during a match and when empty.
The last time I was with a friend, we are both involved (on the periphery) of assisting people in developing as an individual, making the most of the chances they have and avoiding the areas where they have failed in the past. Neither of us are sports psychologists but both have an understanding of psychology and how to work with individuals and groups and to ensure that we are getting the best out of them.
What we both were struck by was the sterility and dourness of the colour of the dressing room and tunnel area. There is nothing to feed off or to intimidate the opposition. We have all seen the pictures at Liverpool the players touching the This is Anfield sign.
The tunnel and dressing room area are a cold sky blue and grey there is nothing to indicate this is Elland Road until the end of the tunnel where there is a stained and dirty club badge sewn in to a bit of blue carpet. I know we are not in the PL and we have an old ground but every player should know where they are including the opposition players and officials.
Even my limited understanding of psychology tell me that the use of colour and images can assist in the preparation for an event and with careful use of these we can also get an advantage over the opposition. I do wonder if we have ever used a sports psychologist to advise on the dressing room and tunnel areas if we have I would love to chat with them to understand how this area is supposed to motivate performance.
I found this on the web so it must be true.
RED. Physical Positive: Physical courage, strength, warmth, energy, basic survival, ‘fight or flight’, stimulation, masculinity, excitement. Negative: Defiance, aggression, visual impact, strain.
Being the longest wavelength, red is a powerful colour. Although not technically the most visible, it has the property of appearing to be nearer than it is and therefore it grabs our attention first. Hence its effectiveness in traffic lights the world over. Its effect is physical; it stimulates us and raises the pulse rate, giving the impression that time is passing faster than it is. It relates to the masculine principle and can activate the “fight or flight” instinct. Red is strong, and very basic. Pure red is the simplest colour, with no subtlety. It is stimulating and lively, very friendly. At the same time, it can be perceived as demanding and aggressive.
BLUE. Intellectual Positive: Intelligence, communication, trust, efficiency, serenity, duty, logic, coolness, reflection, calm. Negative: Coldness, aloofness, lack of emotion, unfriendliness.
Blue is the colour of the mind and is essentially soothing; it affects us mentally, rather than the physical reaction we have to red. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter, soft blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. Consequently it is serene and mentally calming. It is the colour of clear communication. Blue objects do not appear to be as close to us as red ones. Time and again in research, blue is the world’s favourite colour. However, it can be perceived as cold, unemotional and unfriendly.
YELLOW. Emotional Positive: Optimism, confidence, self-esteem, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness, creativity. Negative: Irrationality, fear, emotional fragility, depression, anxiety, suicide.
The yellow wavelength is relatively long and essentially stimulating. In this case the stimulus is emotional, therefore yellow is the strongest colour, psychologically. The right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem; it is the colour of confidence and optimism. Too much of it, or the wrong tone in relation to the other tones in a colour scheme, can cause self-esteem to plummet, giving rise to fear and anxiety. Our “yellow streak” can surface.
GREEN. Balance Positive: Harmony, balance, refreshment, universal love, rest, restoration, reassurance, environmental awareness, equilibrium, peace. Negative: Boredom, stagnation, blandness, enervation.
Green strikes the eye in such a way as to require no adjustment whatever and is, therefore, restful. Being in the centre of the spectrum, it is the colour of balance – a more important concept than many people realise. When the world about us contains plenty of green, this indicates the presence of water, and little danger of famine, so we are reassured by green, on a primitive level. Negatively, it can indicate stagnation and, incorrectly used, will be perceived as being too bland.
WHITE. Positive: Hygiene, sterility, clarity, purity, cleanness, simplicity, sophistication, efficiency. Negative: Sterility, coldness, barriers, unfriendliness, elitism.
Just as black is total absorption, so white is total reflection. In effect, it reflects the full force of the spectrum into our eyes. Thus it also creates barriers, but differently from black, and it is often a strain to look at. It communicates, “Touch me not!” White is purity and, like black, uncompromising; it is clean, hygienic, and sterile. The concept of sterility can also be negative. Visually, white gives a heightened perception of space. The negative effect of white on warm colours is to make them look and feel garish.
BROWN. Positive: Seriousness, warmth, Nature, earthiness, reliability, support. Negative: Lack of humour, heaviness, lack of sophistication.
Brown usually consists of red and yellow, with a large percentage of black. Consequently, it has much of the same seriousness as black, but is warmer and softer. It has elements of the red and yellow properties. Brown has associations with the earth and the natural world. It is a solid, reliable colour and most people find it quietly supportive – more positively than the ever-popular black, which is suppressive, rather than supportive.
Before I read this I thought if it were left to me it would be white tiles, with blue and yellow stripes, club badges on each wall in both the home and away dressing room. In the away dressing rooms At the top of the wall where they can’t be covered we should have images in the tiles of Leeds legends looking down on them Revie, Bremner, Batty, Radebe, Mick and Vinnie Jones, Speed, Strachan, Charles, Yeboah et al, just so that they know where they are and the history of the club.
Now I can see why many of the most successful teams play in red, but as to the colour of the dressing room walls! Well I am undecided except the away team room needs to be white.
I noted that in the officials dressing room there is a miss mach of furniture and a door with handles missing, one tatty shower curtain and loads of old coat hangers, this just shouts “We don’t care about you” so no wonder we only get shit refs, if that is how we treat them. Again we should treat these people special to show that we value and respect them
The tired tunnel and running track area in front of the benches just says to me we aren’t that proud and we just can’t be bothered. these have been dug up and relayed several times and are a complete miss match. If I think this so must the players. We are all the same if our boss can’t be bothered to look after our work place we will not perform at our best regardless of how much we are paid.
The tunnel cover would be replaced, that yellow one still has the sticky glue marks from when the strongbow letters were applied, this should be replaced with a white one with the club badge on.
I would also stick a sign above the tunnel with the club badge on and a motivation statement;
This Is Elland Road
Whose Heroes are Remembered for Ever
Marching on Together
I am sure others will be able to think of much better ones I am not so sure that some of the thought I had would work
“Leeds United – Robbed Blind by Shirkers”
“Elland Road – Where Optimism is Often Misguided”
I would also re surface the area in front of the benches and replace the planks that the players sit on with new chairs. We could fit the opposition ones so they are not level or rock so they can’t get comfortable. There must be a company out there who make comfy chairs that they would like to see advertised on TV all of the PL sides have found one.
And that dirty stained club badge on the carpet is a disgrace, clean it up or rip it up, this is such a poor image.
Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”
If we get the environment decent the players may understand how they are are valued both by the club and the fans.