Editor’s note: This article is a continuation of our series focused on communicating findings from peer-reviewed sports psychology research to the masses. At the end of the post, you can find additional information, including a link to the original research article.
When analyzing a new strategy or intervention, teams, coaches, and researchers often look to the numbers. If the stats are better following a change, the presumption is that it was successful; the new defensive strategy, for example, worked and we can all celebrate a job well done. But sometimes statistics aren’t enough to understand the true impact of a change to an individual’s or team’s play.
An additional tool we can use to supplement the evaluation of sports-related interventions is social validation — direct feedback from the very people making the change. For anyone working with athletes, social validation is a necessity for understanding both our strategies and our team.
According to a study from 2013 by Jenny Smith (Page) and Richard Thelwell, two researchers at University of Portsmouth, there are three general aspects of social validation: