Elite sport is in a constant state of turmoil between searching for new ideas and remaining true to the universal truths that have existed since competition began. There are certain variables that are not quantifiable and yet still undoubtedly constitute the make-up of competition. Variables like hard-work, passion, determination. One such variable is pressure. We all know what it means in a broad sense, but understanding its intricate details is a challenge. Chris Passarella, associate director, mental conditioning for the New York Yankees, wishes to do away with the term altogether and believes the sooner we stop referencing it, the sooner its hold on athletes will dissipate.
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The Pygmalion effect, or the Rosenthal effect, is a psychological phenomenon whereby the expectation placed on individuals and groups dictates the way they perform. Tell an athlete or team that they have a particular attribute for an extended period of time and they will soon adopt that attribute. Team identity is an abstract concept and yet some teams just exude a certain personality. The way they play, the fans that support them, the players they recruit; every facet of their being embodies an ethos. We explore the identities of two of the greatest sports teams on the planet; Real Madrid CF and the New York Yankees and find out whether team identity can be translated into success.