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Benjamin Noël and Stefanie Klatt

Most studies on offside decision making in soccer have not addressed rather simplistic situational probabilities like the number of players involved in an offside situation. In three studies (one observational and two experimental), the authors tried to assess whether the number of players close to the offside situation can predict the quality of offside decision making. In all three studies, they found that the presence of additional players negatively affected the percentage of correct decisions. The exact relationship between the number of players and the decrease in decision-making performance differed between the studies, though. Importantly, there was a negative influence of the number of players on decision-making quality in Studies 2 and 3, even though the authors tried to add players clearly farther away from the offside line than the relevant pair of players. This points to a crowding effect as a potential explanation for why decision-making quality decreases with an increasing number of players.

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Stefanie Klatt and Nicholas J. Smeeton

In 2 experiments, the authors investigated the effects of bimodal integration in a sport-specific task. Beach volleyball players were required to make a tactical decision, responding either verbally or via a motor response, after being presented with visual, auditory, or both kinds of stimuli in a beach volleyball scenario. In Experiment 1, players made the correct decision in a game situation more often when visual and auditory information were congruent than in trials in which they experienced only one of the modalities or incongruent information. Decision-making accuracy was greater when motor, rather than verbal, responses were given. Experiment 2 replicated this congruence effect using different stimulus material and showed a decreasing effect of visual stimulation on decision making as a function of shorter visual stimulus durations. In conclusion, this study shows that bimodal integration of congruent visual and auditory information results in more accurate decision making in sport than unimodal information.

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Lisa-Marie Rückel, Benjamin Noël, André Jungen, Sebastian Brückner, Bernd Strauss, and Stefanie Klatt

This study uses a thematic content analysis to analyze common stressors for volleyball referees, examine the individual triggered stress responses, and identify the applied coping strategies. A total of 38 German elite volleyball referees (24 male and 14 female, M age = 38.29 years, SD = 7.91 years) were considered for this study. Through the analysis, 17 stressful events, 14 stress responses, and 6 different coping strategies were identified and further clustered into four main dimensions. Common stressors among elite German volleyball referees were identified as stressful game situations, need for game management, situational environment, and demands on self-activation. These stressors triggered emotional stress reactions, cognitive stress reactions, changes in focus, and reactions among the test group after increased strain. In order to deal with these situations and emotions, referees applied self-regulation strategies, improved focus and concentration, searched for a solution, prepared for the match or a stressor, showed a confident appearance, and tried to accept and let go of mistakes or situations. Post hoc Pearson’s correlation analyses showed significant relationships between emotional and cognitive stress reactions with stressful game situations. Consequently, the role of coping with emotions and thoughts becomes essential for volleyball referees to remain focused and perform.