On the Issue of Developing Creative Players in Team Sports: A Systematic Review and Critique From a Functional Perspective

Zahno, Stephan; Hossner, Ernst-Joachim (2020). On the Issue of Developing Creative Players in Team Sports: A Systematic Review and Critique From a Functional Perspective. Frontiers in psychology, 11 Frontiers Research Foundation 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.575475

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Driven by the practical goal of developing creative players, several approaches totraining creativity have been proposed and underpinned by empirical studies in sportscience. However, the scope of these studies encompasses various aspects, whichhave all been subsumed under the singular label of “creativity.” Therefore, this systematicreview aims to disentangle the pursued lines of thought in order to facilitate thederivation of well-grounded recommendations for sports practice. To this end, 38studies are presented and characterized in terms of their underlying conceptualizationsand measures of creativity. In most studies, creativity is conceptualized as a player’sdomain-specific divergent thinking (DT) ability, reflectedby individual differences in thenumber, variety and originality of ideas he or she is able to generate in response to gamesituations. Empirical studies indicate that DT can be improved by practice. However, thecritical assumption that an enhanced DT ability transfers to creative on-field actions hasyet to be tested. On the basis of the reviewed literature, an alternative point of view isproposed. In line with a relational understanding of creativity and a functional approachto behavioral control, it is hypothesized that an enhanced repertoire of sensorimotorskills increases the probability for performing functional solutions that, within a specificsocial and cultural frame of reference, go beyond the expected and consequently appearcreative to the observer. In the context of sports practice,the proposed conceptualre-orientation would then suggest, rather than seeking ways to improve players’ DTability, to target sensorimotor skills that allow players to perform a variety of task-solutionsand thus to act less predictably to the opponent—or in other words, more creative.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Movement and Exercise Science

UniBE Contributor:

Zahno, Stephan, Hossner, Ernst-Joachim


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Frontiers Research Foundation




Edith Desideria Imthurn

Date Deposited:

16 Nov 2020 08:51

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:41

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

creativity, divergent thinking, invasion games,team sports, motor skill, sensorimotor learning, complexmotor skill learning





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