Thursday, February 25, 2010

1980 Miracle on Ice: Quantifying Sport Psychology

The New York Times published an abridged version of our white paper on the 1980 Miracle on Ice. Please see below for the article and some text. Our white paper goes into more specifics of concepts of sport psychology, reviews specific examples of team chemistry and motivation -- and shows more results / details about our Monte Carlo simulations.

Some text from the article:

Today is the 30th anniversary of “The Miracle on Ice,” the stunning victory of the United States men’s hockey team over the Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. The young American team of amateurs went on to win the gold medal against Finland two days later.
But how big an upset was it? Using quantitative methods and Monte Carlo simulations, we studied the magnitude of the 1980 victory. Sport psychology played a big role in the Americans winning the gold medal and helped bridged the gap from 1,000-to-1 odds, down to a more manageable level of a 17-1 long-shot.
Brooks used just about every trick in the sport psychology book.
He graduated from college with a degree in psychology, and was a successful college coach at University of Minnesota, winning three championships in four finals appearances.
Brooks gave each prospect a psychology test to help him select a certain type of player.
Brooks said, "I'm not looking for the best players... I'm looking for the right players."